Man gets probation for theft from church

Jan. 9, 2013 at 2:03 PM

OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- An Ohio man Wednesday got a sentence of probation for the broad-daylight theft of bells from the front of a church in order to support his drug problem.

A Cuyahoga County judge ordered Brian Diamond, 34, of Olmsted Township undergo long-term drug rehabilitation and to pay restitution for the bells to St. Innocent Orthodox Church in Olmsted Falls, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The five brass bells, stolen last summer, had been imported from Russia and approximately six years ago were donated to the church in the memory of a church member's husband. The bells' value was around $5,500, the Plain Dealer reported.

Diamond sold the bells to D&B Auto Wrecking, a Columbia Station scrap metal dealer for $341.60. Mattew Browarek, Diamond's lawyer, said the money was used for drugs.

D&B's owner called the police after discovering the bells had been stolen from the church, the newspaper said.

The police apprehended Diamond and he briefly escaped from them after they took him to a health center when he said he felt sick, the newspaper said.

Diamond pleaded guilty to stealing the bells and to escaping from police. The judge told him he will go to prison for three years if he violates his probation.

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