$20,000 stolen from church

January 15, 2009 8:36:54 PM PST
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department is investigating the theft of an estimated $20,000 collected during a church service Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

The money, including cash and checks, was put in an envelope and placed in the trunk of a locked car in the parking lot of the Santa Rosa arts venue, which itself was once a church.

The theft happened during the New Vintage Church's weekly service attended by an estimated 1,000 people at the Wells Fargo Center, which the Christian church is renting until it builds a new church.

Sheriff's Sgt. Glenn Lawrence said the thief entered the car through the passenger side and accessed the trunk of the Chevrolet four-door sedan by folding down the rear seat of the vehicle.

The sheriff's department has informed the church it must advise its members to cancel their checks and close their checking accounts to prevent becoming victims of identity theft.

Lawrence said investigators have some leads but no specific suspects.

Pastor Andy VomSteeg did not immediately return calls for comment today.