Sacred items returned to Benton City church from 1970s burglary

BENTON CITY, Wash. — After a building inspection at the Benton City Sub-Station, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office found a hidden evidence vault. There, they found lost items from a 1970’s burglary.

“I’ve been here 12 years, and I had no idea there was a vault there,” Lt. Jason Erickson said. “We never stored evidence there.”

In the mid-1980s, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office took over after the Benton City Police Department was dissolved. They also took over the old station and made turned it in to a satellite station for officers.

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The sub-station was mainly used for officers to write reports or to conduct interviews. The sheriff’s office has never stored evidence in Benton City — it’s always been taken to the Kennewick Sheriff’s Office.

The vault was discovered just a few weeks ago by then Acting Sheriff Law, former Under-Sheriff Croskrey and Deputy McDermont. In it, they found case reports from the 1950s, a Captain’s jacket, a few officer uniforms, and evidence reclaimed from later 1970’s robbery.

The recovered items belonged to St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church. More than a dozen items worth more than $1,800 were recovered. The items include a tabernacle key, a sterling silver chalice, jewelry, monstrance pixs, a catholic kit of baptismal oil stocks and salts, a bishop’s coat of arms from Spokane, a tuning pitch, and a pair of salt and pepper shakers.

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Officials say the Benton City Police Department attempted to return the items on several occasions, but don’t know why they were unsuccessful.

But today, they were reunited with the church. Corporal Jech, Deputy Hart and Deputy Donovan took the items to Father John.

The church was not able to officially comment. It’s unknown what will be done the time-capsule of items, but they do need to be reviewed by the church. Many of the items are ceremonial in nature and hold sacred value beyond their dollar worth.

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