An unusual theft of 16 handmade organ pipes worth about $8,000 from Glendale Adventist Church has left police and church officials baffled.
"I don't have the slightest idea why anyone would do it unless they were just younger kids who just went in for the fun of it and came out with a handful of whistles," said Charles Spier, minister of music at the Vallejo Drive church.
The theft was discovered by an organ repairman who was preparing the huge instrument, which has nearly 6,000 pipes, for a special church service.
Initially, Spier said, it was believed the Oct. 1 earthquake shook the pipes, which are made of lead, tin and zinc alloy. But no pipes were found on the floor, and closer inspection revealed child-size tennis shoe and hand prints in the dust surrounding the area of the missing parts. Police said there was no evidence of forced entry, prompting Spier to suspect that a youngster may have taken them after a church service.