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'Landmark in this area': Holden residents saddened by theft of church bell, damage to belfry

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Police are investigating after the bell was stolen from St. Mary's Church in Holden, Alta., causing significant damage to the belfry building.

The theft happened on Jan. 22.

Mounties say they have surveillance footage that shows an older model blue Dodge dually pickup with a push bar in front and a white canopy, followed by a white or silver SUV or van dragging the church bell and pulling it off.

Police say a blue pickup truck is one of two vehicles used to steal the bell from St. Mary's church in Holden, Alta. (Credit: RCMP)

The church secretary and treasurer says the bell was installed at the church nearly a century ago.

"We had a merchant in Holden, Mr. Black, and he donated the bell to this church in 1925. He also donated the chandelier in the church. The bell is marked with the name of the church and the year it was installed," Eileen Komarnisky told CTV News Edmonton.

"It hurts. It’s something that… I really don’t know what to say. It’s a landmark in this area. And I don’t know why anyone would want to destroy the building to get a bell."

Komarnisky says the church was built in 1907. The belfry was constructed as a separate building.

St. Mary's church in Holden. (Supplied photo.)

She hopes whoever has the bell will bring it back.

"I would love to have them drop it off. Drop it off and no charges or anything would be laid."

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Tofield RCMP at 780-662-3353 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

A local man is also offering a $5,000 reward in the case.

Holden is about 100 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. 

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