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TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – Historical books stolen from a church in Tuolumne County have now returned to their rightful home, with the help of an unlikely member of the community.
For Pastor Randy Ehle, the return of these historical documents is better than a Hollywood scenario.
“It’s better than a Hallmark movie, and in a lot of ways it really is – without the romance, of course,” Pastor Randy Ehle of The Journey Church of Sonora told FOX40.
“It’s kind of a Christmas miracle and we were thrilled to be able to help and be a part of it,” said Charles B. Smith, criminal defense attorney.
Last month, burglars stole a laptop computer, electronics and a safe containing these 1857 books from Journey Church.
For weeks the pastor prayed for the return of the materials.
“Last week I had practically given up hope of ever seeing these documents again,” said Pastor Ehle.
Before he could, a former police officer turned criminal defense lawyer from Jamestown learned the documents had been found.
“We never went to church, we didn’t know anyone at church, but my wife was just moved and because of that we decided to offer our services,” Smith said.
Smith and his wife Mary offered a reward of $ 500, plus a confidential consultation.
“The person who found them could return them to safety without fear of the police being called or it being a trap,” he said.
Although now weather-worn, the books are back home.
As for the Good Samaritan who returned them, the reward money is now going to what the church has worked hard to do – work that is going to hope and healing.
“Anytime you can take some money out of an attorney’s pocket and give it to the community, it’s a good day,” Smith said with a laugh. “It’s a good day for people.
“I love that the person who found these documents and took this cash award is doing the same,” added Pastor Ehle.
The Smiths say they donate anonymously to various projects across Jamestown. They had to share their identities this time to facilitate the return of documents.
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