Musician reunited with guitar after stolen from Herrin church - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Musician reunited with guitar after stolen from Herrin church

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HERRIN, Ill. -- For the past 20 years, Bill Harper has played guitar for children's mass at Our Lady Mt. Carmel Catholic Church three times a week. He uses a special, acoustic guitar worth $3,000. 

"I sing in a tenor range, and I find sometimes that rosewood is not as warm as I like it, "Harper explains. "I like the mahogany. It compliments my voice a lot better." 

When Harper came to church on October 14, the guitar and other items were gone, "The drawers were open and things were moved around but they didn't realize things were missing." 

He called the Herrin Police Department, which stepped in quickly. Detective Scott Stefan says surveillance video from the church caught all three suspects, including a 30-year-old women that detectives recognized. 

Police were able find the female suspect and question her about the other two men. "Where the hard part comes in, is the male subjects. She didn't know them. She only knew one of their first names," Stefan says. 

Detectives say the trio met on social media and decided to meet up at local bars. They went by the church in the early morning hours of October 13 and decided to rob it. After leaving the church, they headed to Franklin County and were pulled over by police. 

Stefan says the traffic stop later gave detectives a lead in the case, "We are able to follow up on that and get the actual names of the two guys." 

Police were then able to track down Cody Patterson, 26, and Kyle Williams, 27, both from Florida. The men were in possession of the stolen items, which were retrieved by authorities. 

Harper was optimistic that police would find his guitar and he was reunited with the instrument on October 18. Even better, the guitar was returned in good condition. 

"I looked it over, took it out of the case and it's just like I left it," Harper says. "It feels like everything just fell into place and if you want to say divine providence, I would." 

Patterson and Williams face criminal trespass to property and burglary charges. While charges for the woman are pending. 

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