Juvenile arrested for stealing safe

A 16-year-old Vashon boy has been arrested for stealing the safe from St. John Vianney Catholic Church, which disappeared July 19 and is now presumed to be under water off the end of the Tramp Harbor dock.

Sgt. John Urquhart, a spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, said the arrest was made at the boy’s home last Wednesday.

Detectives were able to make the arrest after another youth came forward with information about the crime.

Detectives believe the boy did not act alone, and the investigation is continuing, Urquhart said.

The boy, whose name will not be made public because he’s a juvenile, is connected to the church, Urquhart said. He’s not yet been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, a safe that was found by diver Karlista Rickerson while she was diving as part of a Vashon Park District-sponsored education program on Saturday, July 26, remains under water. Urquhart said the sheriff’s office believes the safe is the one that came from St. John Vianney. The department’s dive team, however, hasn’t had time yet to retrieve it.

Constance Walker, pastoral assistant at St. John Vianney, said she expects the safe will be retrieved this week. The situation — with the arrest involving a member of the parish — is hard, she added.

“It’s our belief there were others,” she added. “Until the deputy has completed his investigation, we are sort of in a waiting mode.”

The safe contained an unknown amount of cash, checks and bank drafts taken from July 14 to July 19, including collection money from the church’s Saturday, July 19, mass. Rickerson saw what appeared to be a small hole in the safe, as well as a $20 bill floating on top of the water during her dive.

It is believed the suspects drilled a hole in the safe to try to extract its contents, Walker said.

— Leslie Brown

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