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Church custodian accused of theft

A former custodian at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church stole over $2,000 in donations – half of which he said he put back in the collection plate because it “made him feel good about himself,” according to court documents.

William Graney’s theft was discovered in January after church members raised questions about the amount of donations received, court documents stated.

In response, Pastor Russell Dewell set up a video camera that recorded Graney taking $90 from a room where donations were kept, court documents stated.

When Dewell and a church member confronted Graney, he admitted taking the money. “William stated that the money made him feel good about himself, because he would take the money and then put it in a collection plate on Sunday,” court documents said.

Graney, 51, told police he had worked for the church for two years and, in that time, had stolen more than $2,000 but kept only $1,000 for himself, putting the rest back in the collection plate.

Dewell told The Journal Gazette that Graney was fired soon after the thefts came to light but that he is still a member of the church at 1636 St. Marys Ave.

“The church is trying to treat him as a fellow person who fell on the wrong path. Anyone of us is capable of doing that,” the pastor said. “We want to reconcile with him and seek restoration with him in our church body.”

Graney, of the 1700 block of Hinton Drive, was charged Monday with felony theft. There is a warrant for his arrest.