Suspected Church Scammer Pleads Guilty To Felony Theft

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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A man arrested last month for stealing an Andover preacher's van has pled guilty.

Steven Brown is accused of trying to scam churches in several states.

Andover Baptist Church pastor James Gillespie says he was happy to hear police found Steven Brown last month.

"I'm just glad that he got caught," Gillespie said.

He says he was even happier to learn Brown pleaded guilty to felony theft.

"I felt a little vindicated on it and really I thought this would be a chance for him to get himself straight and right,” Gillespie said.

The Butler County Attorney's office says as part of his plea deal the misdemeanor charges he faced, like theft by deception, have been dropped.

Also, the minimum sentence for felony theft is five months in prison but based on his criminal history, the county attorney's office says Brown is eligible for and will most likely get supervised probation.

That's one thing, Gillespie isn't happy about.

"I'd like to see the judge say this man has obviously not learned his lesson and gives him an opportunity to spend some time in jail so maybe he can take time for reflection and maybe meet the God he talks about,” Gillespie said.

Steven Brown's sentencing is schedule for late February. Gillespie plans on being there with a letter he's written about how Brown's actions have hurt his church.

"Although we didn’t lose anything financially, it did hurt our church in the way we've had to change the way we gave to people. We no longer give cash and that's sad so in that aspect, it affected our church,” Gillespie said.

Even though the misdemeanor charges were dropped, Steven Brown is still responsible for paying restitution for any money he got but the charges won't be on his record.

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