A Rensselaer pastor was arrested Saturday for theft after police received information from former individuals of the church.
Police said Thomas M. Lovely, 50, was arrested for theft/receiving stolen property, a Class D felony, for having unauthorized control over the property of Crown of Glory Worship Center including money and property.
Jasper County Sheriff’s Department detective Pat Williamson said he was contacted by representatives from the worship center to investigate Lovely on another allegation.
Williamson said the center had purchased an apartment complex, north of Rensselaer, and was remodeling it into a church. Lovely, who was pastor of the church at the time of the construction, was overseeing the work.
“During the construction there were individuals in the church who had said Lovely had stolen money as well as items that were purchased by the church,” Williamson said.
“An inventory was conducted by the individuals and they noted several items were missing.”
Lovely appeared to have purchased items with the church’s money for the construction, but those items were not accounted for including recessed lighting, crown molding, sinks and counter tops and various hand tools.
“They had also noticed that in the checking account that Lovely kept for himself there was a bill for Menards for $2,188.36,” Williamson said.
“Tom Lovely said he paid for that himself, but what they found was that one of the checks in the construction account was used to pay the bill for Menards, signed by Tom Lovely. The church paid for the more than $2,000 Menards bill and then paid him for the $2,000 Menards bill.”
The estimated amount of stolen items and money is more than $3,700.
According to the affidavit for probable cause, Lovely has attained an attorney, who advises him not to speak with police regarding the matter.
Lovely could face up to three years in prison and more than $10,000 in fines if charged and convicted for the class D felony.