BURLINGTON, Ky. - A Northern Kentucky church group that traveled to Las Vegas on a mission trip has fallen victim to thieves.
Shortly after arriving in Las Vegas, thieves stole thousands of dollars of supplies, a sport utility vehicle and a trailer while members of the Burlington Baptist Church congregation were inside eating dinner at a Chili's restaurant.
"A family of seven drove their own SUV, and took a trailer full of all of our supplies and they drove across country. And we were going to meet them there and help unload the trailer," said Ken Ford, deacon at the church.
Ford, who was already in Vegas when the group arrived Thursday evening, said the thieves made off with various things ranging from band equipment to religious materials.
"We had band equipment, lots and lots of tooling, vacation Bible school stuff, so literally thousands and thousands of dollars inside the trailer, roughly $50,000 of supplies," he said.
The value of what was taken is estimated at close to $100,000 if you include the family's GMC Yukon and the trailer.
The church group traveled out west to join members of their sister church, Summerlin Community Church, in working toward improving the local community.
Ford said he filed a police report with Las Vegas police and is hopeful someone who was at the restaurant Thursday evening can help them get their stuff back.
While he's trying to remain optimistic, Ford said news he received from officials with the police department is making that difficult.
"They say it's very common, very frequent and the odds of us getting (our supplies) back is very slim," he said.
Some of the group's plans have had to change as a result of the incident so Ford flew back to Northern Kentucky to figure out what to do next.
However, while they may have been momentarily slowed down, the church group isn't letting the actions of a few people undermine the work they're trying to accomplish. About 70 people from the church are staying in Las Vegas to continue their mission.
Ford credits the resolve and dedication of the members of the group for keeping their minds and hearts in the right place.
"They have really pulled themselves up and have decided to do the mission they intended to do and be out there for the week until next Saturday," Ford said.
While they received a cold welcome when they arrived in town, members of Burlington Baptist Church said multiple churches in Las Vegas have been generous and willing to share their resources with them.
"Some of the other local churches, as an irony, have donated some supplies for Vacation Bible School to help us do what we were going to do," Ford said.
On Sunday, the church asked members of the Northern Kentucky community to make donations to help them replace what was stolen.
You can make a donation by visiting the church office at 3031 Washington Street in Burlington.