PORTLAND -- A local minister is calling on his congregation to forgive a thief after the suspect stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Jeffrey Wilson pleaded no contest to two counts of burglary on Monday and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was also ordered to pay back more than $17,000 in restitution to his victims and to stay at least 150 feet away from the churches when he's released from prison.

Wilson stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from Central Christian Church in February and March, despite being a frequent shopper at the church's food bank.

I am convinced Mr. Wilson needs something from the church that goes beyond a food bank, said Senior Minister David Brink. He needs healing for his spirit.

After his arrest, Wilson was released from Multnomah Co. Jail, despite having an extensive criminal history. He was later captured in April and re-booked into the jail, where he has been ever since.

Though we were hurt by what he did, we accept him as a fellow human being, Brink added. We hope that his punishment helps him rehabilitate into a law-abiding citizen.

Background: Tips lead to Portland church burglary suspect

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