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Bizarre burglar disrupts pastor's brunch


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Bizarre burglar disrupts pastor's brunch

The Rev. Steven Moler helps capture an intruder who had made himself quite at home.


The Wichita Eagle

Most Sundays for Pastor Steven Moler are routine: Following his sermon, he goes to his home, located just behind Berean Baptist Church, for brunch.

But Sunday he came home to find his wife hysterical, someone shouting, "He's got a gun!" and a burglar wearing Moler's own sweatpants, moving in and out of the house stealing rifles.

Moler kicked into protection mode: He grabbed a pistol from his safe and confronted the wild-eyed 26-year-old in the front yard.

"He was jumping around, acting like he was kickboxing," Moler said. "I walked out and went straight to him. I said: 'Get on the ground. Now. Get on your face. Now.' "

Still, he didn't.

Moler's son, 27, and another church member, who happens to be a former sheriff for Sumner County, surrounded the suspected burglar.

But the man bolted into a field across from the house. Moler's son tackled him and the three held him there until police arrived.

Capt. Darrell Haynes, who oversees the property crimes bureau for the Wichita Police Department, said the man was booked on a slew of charges, including aggravated burglary, two counts of theft and possession of methamphetamine.

Haynes said it is somewhat unusual for someone to physically capture a burglar in or near their home. He said only about one or two times a month is someone captured while stealing from a home.

But the circumstances surrounding this burglary were even stranger, Haynes said.

In the nearly two hours he was in the house, Moler said, the man got in the hot tub, watched the movie "Karate Kid II" and tried on several of the couple's outfits, settling on the sweatpants.

Even after Moler's wife saw the man and ran to call the police, he continued to rummage around.

A dozen or more people who had arrived for brunch watched his movements, Moler said.

"He was just waiting around for the police to show up," Moler said, amazed.

Sitting on his couch and shaking his head on Monday, Moler was still dumbfounded by what had happened.

"I do want to thank God," Moler said, "that no one was injured."

Reach Lilly Rockwell at 268-6404 or lrockwell@wichitaeagle.com.

© 2005 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.



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