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Police: Woman used checks to steal $15,000 from church

By: Brittany Pelletz Email
By: Brittany Pelletz Email

Members of the First Baptist Church in Richmond were surprised to learn that someone would steal from place of worship.

"You have to be lost to take money from a church. You have to really be in a dark place," says Russell Cantrell, a member of the First Baptist Church.

Cantrell says he showed up at BP gas station in Richmond just after a woman attempted to cash in a forged check from his church.

"It's unbelievable is all I can say. Something needs to be done with the way the system is done. There needs to be some changes with the checks and balances to catch them more quickly," Cantrell says.

Police believe 23-year-old Briana Abney is behind that check forgery and at least thirty-six others.

"The first happened forged check happened in October. It wasn't until the church received their statement in November that they noticed these checks," says Major Bob Mott, with Richmond Police.

Police have not been able to locate Abney and fear she could be using more stolen checks.

"People have paid tithes and offerings. This is like taking from the people of the church on my opinion," adds Cantrell.

Surveillance video from Walmart shows Abney on several occasions using a check to pay for things like flats screen TVs and clothing. Police say she spent more than $15,000 dollars over a month.

Police are looking into the possibility of other people being involved in these check forgery crimes.

First Baptist Church members are still trying to figure out how the checks went missing in the first place.

Briana Abney is facing several felony charges for the possession of a forged instrument.

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