Crapaud manse stripped by thieves

Colin MacLean
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St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church property had been fixed up to rent

The manse belonging to the Parish of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Crapaud was recently broken into, leaving the group of volunteers who renovated it in disbelief.

CRAPAUD — It didn't take Charlie Sherren long to figure out something was wrong.

He was standing in the front porch of his church's manse in Crapaud, just like he'd done a thousand times.

But this time was different.

Where there had been a new stove and fridge — there was nothing. Where there had been a new, spotless vinyl floor, there was a trail of gouges and scratches leading out of a now damaged door.

As the realization that the manse had been stripped by thieves dawned on him, Sherren felt a cold lump of disappointment settle in his gut.

"It was kind of — heartbreaking I guess would be the word. We're a small parish, we don't have a whole lot of members. We don't have a whole lot of money... It was a hard pill to swallow," said Sherren, reflecting on that morning of Nov. 15, when he discovered the theft.

For the past 15 years, the manse belonging to the Parish of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Crapaud has been rented out to a tenant. The proceeds are used to help with the upkeep of the church.

But about a year ago, when the long-term tenant left, the church was faced with a decision: sell the property or fix it up and rent it out again.

It was decided to rent out the manse until such time as a new rector could be found. They would eventually be given use of the home.

Margaret Collins, interim priest in charge of the parish, explained that the decision to fix up the manse was part of a larger plan of upkeep work for the heritage property.

To pay for the work, parishioners established a committee called Parish Productions to hold concerts at their church. They held fundraisers. And they developed a long-term plan.

"It's been a big year of a lot of work for a small group," said Collins.

"It was pretty devastating for everyone who had worked on the house. I think they felt a real betrayal. Because people had really poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this." Margaret Collins, interim priest, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church

As part of the larger plan, there was a small group of dedicated volunteers who fixed up the interior of the manse, added Collins.

They were hit hard when news of the theft broke.

"We did a scandalous pile of work on this place," she said.

"It was pretty devastating for everyone who had worked on the house. I think they felt a real betrayal. Because people had really poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this."

Since the break-in was reported, the parish has repaired the damaged floor and will replace the appliances once a new tenant is found.

All in all, the insurance claim was less than $2,000. But the parish is not as concerned about the financial loss as they are about the loss of peace of mind.

They're now talking about investing in security for the property, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, said Sherren.

In the meantime, they've taken extra precautions to avoid a second break-in.

It's not a nice feeling to have to do that, especially in such a tight-knit community as Crapaud, he added. But people have worked hard on the manse, and they deserve to have their work respected, and protected, he said.

"The dollar value on it is relatively low to what it could have been if there had been a lot of stuff in the house. But that doesn't change the feeling of invasion that you get from somebody coming in here and taking something from you," said Sherren.

"It's a terrible, terrible feeling."

Anyone with information regarding the break-in is asked to contact the RCMP as the theft is still under investigation.

Organizations: Evangelist Anglican Church, RCMP

Geographic location: Crapaud

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Recent comments

  • Gerard W.
    January 17, 2013 - 18:55

    To the ones that done this damage, be assured that you will pay for this down the road, and, I think you know what I mean. The lord has a way of dealing with low life characters like me.

  • TFM
    January 17, 2013 - 18:06

    This is so disappointing to read about what is becoming all too common on the Island when it would once have been close to unthinkable. To the people of St. John's who had worked so hard on this and scraped to find the renovation money, God bless and keep your faith intact to carry on. Most Islanders are better than this -know that you have their sympathy and your back. To those who did the damage and theft - shame on you for eroding the sense of community that is such an important part of life in PEI. You too are better than this. Find it in your heart to make restitution, if not now then some time in your more mature future.

  • Tim L
    January 17, 2013 - 15:47

    so when they catch the druggies who did this, will the courts really punish them..i think not. It is obviously heart-breaking to see all the efforts of volunteers turned yupside down by some thoughtless, morally depraived individuals. IMO, once whomever is responsible (and gets caught) should therefore be subjerct to a community-held embarrassment...whomever it is should be made to stand on the front porch wearing signs indicating their names and what they did to deserve the public shame that comes with being stupid. This should be done for at least a week and the individuals should be MADE to make compensation with sweat equity to repair (some) of the damages they have caused. I implore the justice system/community to show how this type of act will not be tolerated....and srew the whole 'cannot name names due to the fact they are minors' (should this be the case)....make whomever is responsible actually face some sort of real punishment for a change!!!!!!!

  • Den
    January 17, 2013 - 15:44

    To the clowns who did this, take a bow, hope you're proud of yourselves and I also hope that karma bites you in the a$$ in a huge way. To the volunteers who toiled on this project and put their hearts and backs into it, I hope you find the resolve to move on and put this behind you.