BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Members of a Northern Kentucky church targeted by thieves looks at the crime as a blessing in disguise.
In late June, 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 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.
On Sunday, the group of volunteers updated the congregation on their trip, which they labeled a success.
Senior Pastor Todd Toole called the crime a blessing in disguise.
"What the devil meant for good, God turned into something spectacular and it was a great week,” he said. “We did far more than we would have had the robbery not taken place."
During the meeting, members of the congregation reviewed pictures from the trip and discussed what the mission team was able to accomplish.
They also shared the struggles they faced and how those obstacles were overcome. Helping to soften the blow of some of the struggles were the uplifting stories of how lives of people in Las Vegas were impacted by the mission team.
The church group traveled out west to join members of their sister church, Summerlin Community Church, in working toward improving the local community.
While some of the group’s plans had to change, the mission remained the same: to help other people.
About 70 people from the church stayed in Las Vegas to continue their mission.
Ford credited 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 after the incident.
While only a set of golf clubs has been recovered so far, Rev. Poole said investigators are following up on several leads.
In the meantime, churches and individuals in Las Vegas, Burlington and across the Tri-State have made donations to help Burlington Baptist to help it stay on its feet.
Even if they don’t get their stuff back, Rev. Poole said what they’ve gained through this experience more than makes up for what they’ve lost.