Giving Back: Deputies replace stolen Reserve church TV

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

RESERVE — Pastor Lionel Murphy Jr. and his wife, Lucinda Murphy, have never had to worry about purchasing an alarm system in the 19 years they have run Tchoupitoulas Chapel.

That changed when the church, located at 1022 Louisiana 44 in Reserve, was robbed Sept. 8.

According to Lucinda Murphy, she and her husband got a call from the cleaning crew asking if someone moved the children’s entertainment TV from the nursery.

Benjamin Teekell

Upon further inspection, it was clear the TV had been stolen, along with speakers, microphones and other music equipment.

“We were taken aback that something like this happened,” Murphy said. “We’ve never had problems with robbery before. We do a lot of work in the community, and everyone has always respected the building.”

After contacting the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, Murphy and her husband learned there was no sign of forced entry and the back door of the building had been left unlocked.

The chapel’s music equipment has since been found in a pawnshop in Metairie.

Though the robbery is still under investigation, the tragic event unveiled an unexpected blessing.

St. John Deputy Benjamin Teekell said his heart broke after he heard someone stole from the church, and he immediately set his mind on helping the pastor and his wife.

“I knew I had to do something,” Teekell said. “People always say ‘I’m sorry that happened’ or ‘I hope it works out,’ but sometimes you have to be the hands and feet for others and be the change you want to see.”

Teekell approached others in his shift, starting a team effort to raise money to replace the stolen equipment. Last week, he asked the Murphys to meet him at the church and surprised them with a new 40-inch TV for the nursery.

“I’ve always been a big giver,” Teekell said. “That’s part of the reason I, and others, joined the police force. At the end of the day, it’s about helping the community and victims of crime. I’m glad we got the chance to do something special.”

Murphy said the good deed was beyond her wildest dreams and fit perfectly with her husband’s most recent sermon about restoration.

“We want to thank the Sheriff’s Office very, very much for their thoughtfulness,” Murphy said. “It’s beyond anything we could’ve imagined, and we are so appreciative.”

Murphy said it is important for the community to know about the good deed because the police force is often viewed in a negative light.

“I want people to know there are caring police officers doing good things in the community,” Murphy said. “This is something they chose to do. It wouldn’t have hurt them or changed their lives if they didn’t do it, but they still chose to help.”

— By Brooke Robichaux