Kentucky Church Searches for Missing 600-Pound Bell

A more-than-100-year-old, 600-pound iron bell used to ring on Sunday mornings at Sulphur Christian Church in Henry County.


SULPHUR, Ky. --

A more-than-100-year-old, 600-pound iron bell used to ring on Sunday mornings at Sulphur Christian Church in Henry County.

That was until last Sunday. On Friday night, the church bell was stolen.

The bell has a long history in the community and was given to the church as a memorial for two tragic deaths.

"I've been coming to Sulphur Christian Church since I was a baby,” said Allison Jesse.

Who Would Steal A 600 Pound Bell?

As long as she can remember, the bronze bell, made in the 1800s, has been a part of her family and church.

Days ago, in the middle of the night, someone took that history apart.

"It was devastating. It was a very sad feeling and disbelief,” said Jesse’s mother, Cathy Lawrence.

Photo provided by Larry Jesse

Kentucky State Police in Campbellsburg said the theft was a job one person could not have done alone. The tire tracks, the loosened bolts, broken lights and positioning of the heavy tower show it was a planned heist, police said.

"Since the bell was a family heirloom, as well as a church memorial, it's just very hurtful to me to see out there, the bell not on its tower and the tower laying on its side,” said Jesse.

In the early 20th century, a parishioner of the church bought the bell from the small town college. When he died, Lawrence’s father, Joseph Foree, bought the bell, with dreams of it being hung as the church bell. It sat in the family’s barn for decades until tragedy struck the family. Within eight months of each other, Foree and his wife, Nina, died, rocking the small Sulphur community and the church.

"They were both well known in the community as well as the county,” said Lawrence.

"Everybody thought that it would be a really fitting memorial to them to finally put the bell up and to hear it ring every Sunday," Jesse said.

Stealing A 600 Pound Bell Leaves Evidence

With donations from the community, in 2002, the bell was erected and rang every Sunday, until it was stolen.

The family said they think the thieves wanted to scrap the bell for its valuable metal.

The price the thieves might get, will never match its worth, the family said.

"It was a reminder of, a connection to, two of the most important people in my life,” Jesse said.

"Just bring it back. That's what we want. Just bring it back,” Lawrence said.

The 600-pound bronze bell's estimated value could be thousand of dollars.

The family, along with state police, have contacted several scrap yards and antique dealers in Kentucky and other states to be on the look out for anyone trying to sell an antique bell.

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