Church without van after vehicle stolen, taken on wild police chase

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ELIZABETH -

A Union County bishop whose church van was stolen and then taken on a wild police chase got his first look at the vehicle Sunday.

Bishop Anthony Gilyard, of Bethlehem Judah Christian Fellowship,  was on a plane, about to take off for an overnight trip to Seattle, when he received the shocking text message, not only about the stolen church van, but that is was being us a getaway vehicle.

The van is currently in police custody and totaled. 

Surveillance video shows the final moments before his stolen church van crashed into an NJ Transit bus on Springfield Avenue in Newark early Friday morning, when the suspects led police on a wild and violent chase. 

"It was a little confusing, how do you rob people at gunpoint and then pick a church van that actually has the name of the church on it on the outside to use as a getaway,” he says.

Police say the men, who are now in custody, are facing several charges.  Investigators say the dangerous duo's crime spree started late Thursday night with three different armed robberies in different parts of the city.  They allegedly also used multiple vehicles to commit those crimes, including the church van. 

The van is a vital part of the ministry and is used on a weekly basis. It's also used for the church's summer camp.

Bishop Gilyard says he forgives the suspects, but he still plans to press charges.

He is a strong believer of the old saying: "You do the crime, you do the time."

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