Antique bell stolen from Loganville church

- Members of a Loganville Church are praying for the return of a very special bell.

The antique ringer was stolen from its perch in Front of Trinity Grace Church in Loganville. Richard Grosscup discovered it missing when he pulled into a parking spot when he was going to church.

"I always look up at the bell and that's what I did that Sunday. Who would steal a bell right outside of church?" said Grosscup.

Someone did, unbolting the big heavy cast iron bell in mid-September. Since then church members have posted fliers and more to find it.

"I have personally visited a number of recyclers, pawn shops and everything in search of our bell. No bell? No bell to date," said Grosscup.

Church elder Steve Rowe showed FOX 5 News photographs of the bell when it was put in place in 2013.

"He's doing our first test pull, this is Rick Strickland," said Rowe of the church elder who donated the bell and rang it just before the first worship service at the church's new building.

Rowe said the bell was forged in 1908 and used on the South Carolina farm of the great-grandfather of the church elder.

On the farm the bell was used to call in great in field hands after a day’s work or to lunch.

At the church it was used to called in parishioners.

"This was a gift, an old gift, like the word of god, it's old but it rings true and it rings clear and that's the way that bell rang around here," said Rowe.

Loganville auctioneer Braxton Roberts showed FOX 5 News a smaller bell he estimates to be worth about one hundred dollars.

The larger stolen bell, which weighed around 300 pounds, is believed is worth about $800 to $1,200 because of its rarity, age and characteristics.

Roberts said he's only seen two similar bells in 30 years and believes this one could be headed out of state.

"It'll take a road trip and sell at one of the big auctions.  A lot of times the bells have markings on the sides of them so you could actually identify those markings and possibly find that bell and recover that bell," said Roberts.

Members of Trinity Grace Church hope their cherished bell is closer to home with thieves who may have a change of heart.

"We won't ask any questions we won't ask anything of you. You won't have to worry about the Sheriff coming to pick you up just bring the bell home," said Rowe.

Church members said they will be checking with auction houses and antique stores in metro Atlanta and nationwide to track down their cherished bell.

Rowe said if melted down for scrap metal the cast iron bell would be worth about ten to $15, which he said would be a terrible loss of history.

Anyone with information about the bell is asked to call the church at 404-247-4564. They can also message church members at their Facebook page

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