The Rev. Steve Molin of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Stillwater has long kept a supply of Cub Foods, Holiday gas station and Target gift cards in his office.
Molin distributes the cards - part of the church's Grace Fund - to people who come to him and say they need financial help.
But police say that one of the people Molin recently helped stole $600 worth of the cards from Molin's hiding place behind some books on a shelf in his office.
Blaze William Schultz, 22, of Stillwater was being held in the Washington County Jail on Thursday, April 5, and may be charged with gross misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property.
"had been keeping the cards in the same location for many years and that typically when he retrieves one he will do so in the presence of the recipient," according to police reports.
Molin bought $400 worth of Holiday cards on March 23. Police officers contacted Holiday's corporate office on Tuesday and told officials about the theft.
That afternoon, Holiday corporate employees told police one of the stolen cards had just been used at the Holiday station in West Lakeland Township.
Police interviewed a Holiday employee, who was able to identify the person who used the stolen card as Schultz.
Molin told police that he knew Schultz and had given him a gift card in late January or early February.
Police reviewed Holiday's security
footage, noted the make and model of the car Schultz was riding in and found the car in the Lily Lake Ice Arena parking lot. Officers found used gift cards next to the car and in a nearby garbage can, police said.
A 19-year-old Stillwater woman who was with Schultz at Holiday said they had gone to the church on Sunday "to ask Pastor Molin for some gift cards or money," according to police reports.
The woman said that she waited in the church lobby while Schultz went into Molin's office and that Schultz "returned moments later with approximately 30 gift cards," according to police reports.
Schultz told police that he went to the church to ask Molin for money but that Molin was conducting a service at the time.
The woman and Schultz told police they went to Target and Cub and purchased cellphones, food, sleeping bags and clothing.