Cross Stolen From Local Church

04-11-04- Across Texoma and around the world, the cross is a sacred symbol. But that symbol is missing this Easter Sunday at the Leon Baptist Church. The small congregation is reeling from the theft of a cross that stood in front of their church for years.

The wooden cross, standing about six feet tall, was stolen sometime Friday night. When a church member went to decorate it Saturday morning for Easter services, it was gone.

Love County Sheriff's Deputies are calling the theft a hate crime and say the thief or thieves could face criminal charges.

The congregation plans to replace the cross, but members say the cross holds sentimental value and they would like to have it back.

nats:
THE SPIRITS OF EASTER ARE DAMPENED FOR THE SMALL CONGREGATION OF ABOUT 80 MEMBERS AT THE LEON BAPTIST CHURCH IN LEON, OKLAHOMA...AS THEY ARE PUZZLED WHY SOMEONE STOLE A NEARLY SIX FOOT CROSS FROM THE CHURCH LAWN.
[CG: DEBORAH FRASIER/CHURCH MEMBER]
"It was a shock I never would have thought it would happen in our small community...there are a lot of good Christian people here."
[CG: DALLAS TALIAFERRO/ CHURCH DEACON]
"I didn't think there's a person in Love County that would do a thing like this."
TALIAFERRO...A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH SINCE AGE TWELVE..NOW SEVENTY-FIVE...SAYS FOR FIVE YEARS THE CROSS THAT STOOD HERE... WHILE ONLY A PEACE OF WOOD...MEANT A LOT TO CHURCH MEMBERS.
"It was a symbol of Jesus being nailed to the cross."
TALIAFERRO SAYS THE THEFT OF THE CROSS IS A SIGN THE DEVIL IS BUSY.
AND ALTHOUGH CHURCH MEMBERS WERE NOT ABLE TO DECORATE THE CROSS THIS EASTER THERE ARE NO BITTER FEELINGS.
"We as a church feel sorry for them...and we'll be praying for them.
{{++LARRY++}}
THE LEON BAPTIST CHURCH PLAN ON REPLACING THE STOLEN CROSS.
TALIAFERRO SAYS THEY WELCOME THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR STEALING THE CROSS TO ATTEND SUNDAY SERVICES.
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THE LOVE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS STILL INVESTINGATING.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE THEFT CONTACT THE LOVE COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT.
THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY COULD FACE HATE CRIME CHARGES.


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