TALMAGE -  A Talmage man is suspected of stealing pews from the a historic African-American church and a bench from a historic railroad depot on July 16.

Nebraska City police investigated a theft report including two pews from the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church at Mayhew Cabin and John Brown’s Cave, three hanging light fixtures and two claw feet from a wood burning stove.


Otoe and Lancaster county sheriff’s offices served a warrant at an apartment and storage unit. An arrest affidavit says deputies learned that items may have been sold at Connor’s Architectural Antiques in Lincoln.

The antique dealer, Sid Connor, told authorities that a customer, 38-year-old Lance Barnes brought the pew in pieces and he had to re-assemble it for sale. He said Barnes also brought in a bench.

Cathleen Van Winkle of Mayhew Cabin identified the bench from an old photo of the Village of Otoe depot.

Barnes is scheduled for preliminary hearing on Sept. 27.