There are certain things you never expect to hear a minister say — things like, ‘I think we might have a hot piano in our church.’
Still, that’s what Travis Cox, a congregant at Morton’s Chapel United Methodist Church, heard when he answered the phone to talk to their music minister.
That’s right. The church was technically holding stolen goods. It was an accident, though. There isn’t a group of church-going, instrument thieves terrorizing east Alabama. The piano was consigned to a local music store that has since been investigated for fraud, according to the Gadsden Times.
Owners of the music store had been selling consigned goods without giving money back to the original owners. Margaret Webster consigned a baby grand piano that had been in her family for years in hopes it would go to a good home and give her a little cash. Half of that came true.
Morton’s Chapel United Methodist Church bought the piano in good faith for a whopping $10,000, and it wasn’t until news reports of fraud at the store came out that they started to question the validity of the purchase.
Since there isn’t a guide on church protocol when you accidentally buy stolen equipment, they decided to contact the police to confirm they had actually bought stolen goods and to get help returning the piano to the original owner. While the tiny church was saddened at the prospect of losing $10,000 with nothing to show for it, they didn’t want to be involved in any illegal activity or deception.
That’s when the story gets really cool. Margaret decided to let the church keep the piano since they thought they were buying it from a legitimate dealer.
The piano was in great condition with one small flaw, a scuff on the top where Margaret’s mother kept a statue of an angel — a sign to Margaret that the piano was bound to end up in a church.
“It’s obviously where it’s meant to be,” Margret said.
You can find out more about the congregation on Facebook where, you guessed it, they have an image of the piano as their profile picture.
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