Church burglar charged, but antique Bibles unclaimed

A 33-year-old man suspected of breaking into at least three Pierce County churches is behind bars, and investigators are trying to reunite antique Bibles with their owners.

Daniel Moore pleaded not guilty to first-degree trafficking in stolen property and unlawful possession of a controlled substance and was jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail.

He broke into three churches in the Midland-Waller area from November to February and stole audio equipment, a television and religious books, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Charging papers give this account:

Overnight on Valentine’s Day, someone removed a glass window pane at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 25th Avenue East, then pried open office doors.

Church staff reported the burglary and then realized a microphone and transmitter system, amplifier and audio mixer were missing.

A staff member searched online forums for that equipment, found the stolen items listed for sale and notified detectives.

On Feb. 16, an undercover detective made a deal to buy the stolen equipment and met Moore in a parking lot, where he was arrested.

He had heroin on him at the time, resulting in the drug charge. Moore also had six unrelated warrants in three counties.

Investigators recovered the stolen audio equipment in the car Moore was driving, as well as stolen license plates, stolen checks, burglary tools, religious artwork and antique Bibles.

It turns out the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church was burglarized Nov. 29 and had a 42-inch television stolen.

After Moore’s arrest, the TV was recovered from a Lakewood pawn shop and returned it to the church.

Audio equipment stolen from the Lutheran Church of Christ the King on Dec. 11 was also found at a Kent pawn shop and returned.

The antique Bibles and religious books have not been claimed despite investigators reaching out to several priests in Pierce and King counties.

Anyone with information on whom they might belong to is asked to contact the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653