It wasn't quite manna from heaven, but close enough for the Rev. Darius Pridgen, who on Sunday showed his congregation footage from a surveillance video of a man robbing the church's Subway sandwich shop Friday night.
Within 10 minutes after the service ended at 11 a.m. in True Bethel Baptist Church on East Ferry Street, four anonymous tips identifying the gunman as David Glass, 45, of Strauss Street, were received.
Glass was arrested at about 3 p.m. and charged with first-degree robbery and petit larceny by Northeast District Officer John Sanders and Ferry-Fillmore District Detective Marvin Sanford.
Pridgen incorporated the robbery into his sermon, which he titled, "Why Do We Harm Each Other?" Included in the sermon, the pastor played the surveillance tape on two large video screens and offered a $3,000 reward for the capture of the crook.
"I preached that we need to love one another and not take from one another," an elated Pridgen said Sunday night of the arrest.
One of the tips was made to Sanders' home, and he then contacted Sanford, and they began investigating the case, church members said.
Pridgen offered to pay the reward to the police, but he said it was declined.
"I'm willing to pay the reward to the person who called Officer Sanders, but I don't know who it was," Pridgen said. "This worked, and we will continue to offer rewards. We want to send a clear message that we will not stand for this."
Pridgen says he has offered rewards in the past and they have played a helpful role in fighting neighborhood crime. Though it was not disclosed how much cash Glass allegedly robbed from the restaurant, the pastor said it was much less than the reward, but people need to know the church is serious about stopping crime.
In his sermon on the robber, Pridgen stated: "I am not angry. I do not see him as a thief. I see him as a brother, but I am angry with the spirit that has invaded him and many of our other brothers who are unhappy in life. I intend on showing to this community that crime pays, but not for the criminal."
Monica Lewis, the manager of the Subway shop, said she was glad the crime was solved.
"I'm happy he was caught, but I'm certainly not happy that the crime happened," said Lewis, who was robbed at the shop in 2005 by two young men, one of whom threatened her with a gun.