Stained glass windows stolen from historic Braddock church

Mon Valley Initiative and Braddock police are asking antiques and salvage dealers to be on the lookout for stained-glass windows stolen from a historic church.

The theft, from the former First United Presbyterian Church on Parker Avenue, near Braddock Carnegie Library, was discovered early Thursday morning by a passerby, who alerted police, said Laura R. Zinski, chief executive officer of MVI.

MVI employees originally believed that 13 windows were stolen, but discovered two additional windows missing, bringing the total to 15.

Panes of glass, ranging from roughly 2-by-2 feet to 3-by-2 feet, have different designs. Several depict a large lily (or fleur-de-lis) set against a background of yellow- or cream-colored hexagons, with a colorful border.

Others are just yellow- or cream-colored hexagons.

MVI is concerned that the windows may be sold to an antique dealer or architectural salvage dealer for re-use in a house or business, Zinski said. The purchasers may not realize they are in possession of stolen property.

Built in 1893, the church closed its doors in 2017 as a result of declining attendance. Some of its fixtures were donated by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and most of the historic features remain intact.

MVI, a non-profit community development corporation, purchased the church in 2018 and is developing a plan to transform it into housing, while retaining much of the church’s present appearance — including the windows.

In all, 16 windows were stolen or damaged, a spokesperson said.

Witnesses reported seeing someone lurking around the area of Parker Avenue on Wednesday night but did not have a description. Police believe that the same person or persons may have attempted to break into the Braddock Carnegie Library as well.

Anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of the stolen windows is asked to call Braddock police at 412-351-5400, or Mon Valley Initiative at 412-464-4000.

February 15, 2019