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Couple wanted in burglary of Ross pastor's home arrested in Butler County

| Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, 5:02 p.m.

A couple wanted for burglarizing a pastor's home while he was conducting a church service on Christmas Eve have been arrested in Butler County, according to police.

Butler Township police spotted Jeremiah Kelly, 26, and Jessica Hirth, 28, both of Ross, along Route 8 in a Chevy HHR that was reported stolen in Shaler and took the couple into custody about 3 p .m. Saturday, authorities said.

Kelly and Hirth are accused of entering the Rev. Michael Guthrie's home on Babcock Boulevard and stealing credit cards, jewelry, a gun and items that belonged to Guthrie's deceased son, according to Ross police. Guthrie is pastor of Cornerstone Church in Ross.

The pair were being held in the Butler County Jail awaiting extradition to Allegheny County to face charges of burglary, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

Hirth is Guthrie's niece.

On Friday night, Ross police arrested Kelly's mother, Teresa Lenz, 53, of Ross on charges of obstruction and hindering apprehension.

Police said Guthrie and a Ross police officer went to Lenz's after the burglary but the woman hid the fact that the couple was hiding in her home.

Guthrie was trying to retrieve some of the stolen items and had hoped to persuade his niece to seek treatment for the drug problem he believes was the motivation for the thefts, police said.

Lenz posted a $5,000 bond and was released from the Allegheny County Jail on Saturday. A preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for Wednesday.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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