UPDATE: Stolen ATV Found; Pastor Still Moving

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UPDATE 7/2/14 @ 8 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A preacher who was a theft victim says his stolen ATV has now been recovered.

Pastor Mark Salyers of Madison Avenue Church of God tells WSAZ.com a man in Lincoln County recognized a picture of the stolen ATV on WSAZ and called police.

Sgt. Brian Lucas said a man who lives in Branchland reported that an acquaintance sold him the ATV. The man said the acquaintance told him it was his father's.

Lucas drove his personal truck and trailer to the home and retrieved the ATV and returned it to Salyers Tuesday afternoon.

Lucas says he didn't want to take a chance the ATV would disappear. The sergeant says he has an ATV himself, "and if it was stolen I'd want somebody to make the effort to get it back."

After our story Monday, several people commented online accusing Salyers of being a coward for moving.

"Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a coward," Salyers said. "If I was a coward I certainly wouldn't have called the news and made such an awareness of this."

Salyers will continue preaching at Madison Avenue Church of God, but he still feels compelled to move for the safety of his family.

"For those who think this is cowardly, I feel sorry for them," he said. "They need to be the ones who stand up to make sure this is not taking place in their home."

Police say they're looking for two people in connection with the theft who are believed to be in the Huntington area.

Lucas said it was sold for significantly less than what it's marketed at.

A trailer was also stolen from Salyers' home. That has not been recovered yet.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A pastor came to a church in Huntington's west end hoping to make a positive difference, but now he’s packing his bags.

"I really don't feel safe here any more,” Pastor Mark Salyers said, “and it really breaks my heart."

Salyers became pastor at Madison Avenue Church of God six years ago.

He moved from Boyd County, Kentucky, into a house next to the church, but the pastor says crime has been closing in.

Once the church's air conditioning units were stolen. And he said in the past couple weeks alone, there’ve been multiple disturbing incidents.

"Two blocks from here a 19-year-old boy was shot,” he said. “Last Tuesday, a man got his ear bitten off in a fight."

Salyers had been saving up for an ATV called a Razor. He'd only had it two weeks.

Early Saturday morning while he and his family slept, it was stolen out of his driveway.

Betty Swann is a member of the congregation and lives on the opposite side of the church. Her house has been broken into multiple times, as well.

"It's the times,” Swann said. “It’s the era we're living in.”

"When you see all this, you think are we wasting our time?" Salyers said.

Salyers will remain pastor at the church, but he's moving his family out of the neighborhood.

"I'm not abandoning my church, but I'm getting my family to where I know they're safe,” he said.

Salyers is offering a $500 reward for anyone who comes forward with information that can lead to an arrest.

The pastor says they never sold their old home in Cannonsburg, so they'll be able to move back in soon.


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