Officers in Raleigh County search for clues after break-in at 'h - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Officers in Raleigh County search for clues after break-in at 'historic' church

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Investigators with the National Park Service are seeking information in the recent break-in at a historic Baptist church in the New River Gorge.

The church is located in Quinnimont along State Route 41. According to a news release issued by NPS, numerous furnishings were stolen from the church. NPS rangers discovered the missing furniture on Sunday, February 7.

Below is a list of items stolen;

  • 11 pews (ranging from seven to ten feet long, most of them with end arm rests and hymnal racks on the back, and upholstered red seat cushions)
  • five spindle back choir benches (approximately six feet long, with end arm rests and red seat cushions)
  • three high back chairs (with arm rests, and upholstered red back and seat cushions)
  • two slat back chairs (no arm rests, no seat cushions)
  • two rectangular tables (several feet in length)
  • a large three-sided podium
  • small lectern stand.  

The church was built around 1900 and served the African American community of Quinnimont; one of the first coal mining towns of the New River Gorge.

If you have information regarding the break-in, you are urged to call the National Park Service at 304-465-6516 or Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County at 304-255-7867 or 304-255-STOP. 

The 24-hour tip line allows callers to remain anonymous. Cash rewards of up to $1000 are available to anyone providing information that leads to an arrest. 

Read full news release below:

National Park Service Seeks Information in Theft Case 

Glen Jean, West Virginia – The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking information in the investigation of a recent break in and robbery of the historic Baptist “black church” in Quinnimont, a small riverside community along State Route 41 inside New River Gorge National River. On Sunday, February 7, NPS rangers discovered that numerous furnishings had been stolen from the church. The missing wooden furniture includes: 11 pews (ranging from seven to ten feet long, most of them with end arm rests and hymnal racks on the back, and upholstered red seat cushions), five spindle back choir benches (approximately six feet long, with end arm rests and red seat cushions), three high back chairs (with arm rests, and upholstered red back and seat cushions), two slat back chairs (no arm rests, no seat cushions), two rectangular tables (several feet in length), a large three-sided podium, and a small lectern stand.  

Quinnimont is one of the first coal mining towns of New River Gorge. The “black church” was constructed around 1900 to serve Quinnimont’s growing African American community during a time of segregation. “This church is more than just a piece of our history,” Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said on Thursday. “It also represents the future preservation of an important story. Local volunteers have donated dozens of hours to participate in a clean-up day, oral history interviews, and other projects to get the church and surrounding area ready to be featured as a premier stop along a new African American Heritage driving tour that the NPS and several community partner organizations are developing this year. These items are irreplaceable and we are reaching out to the community to assist us in finding the person or people responsible for this crime and to have the furnishings returned.”

 Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the NPS at 304-465-6516 or Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County at 304-255-STOP (7867). The 24-hour tip line allows callers to remain anonymous. Cash rewards of up to $1000 are available to anyone providing information that leads to an arrest. Information on this crime or other violations may also be reported online at www.crimestoppersofraleighcounty.org.

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