PITTSBURGH — The Rev. Wayne Peck is out on bond after he was arraigned this afternoon in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.
He was a pastor at Community House Presbyterian Church in the Northside for 40 years.
According to detectives with the district attorney’s office, the day before he retired in 2017, he changed the authorized signers on a bank card for the church to himself and one other member of the church’s board.
Investigators say he was allegedly receiving large checks from the church made payable to himself.
Now he is charged with stealing more than $350,000 after a multiyear investigation.
Peck lives in a large home on Highland Avenue, and, according to several of his neighbors, he kept to himself.
According to detectives, Peck used the money on everyday expenses, including his mortgage, utilities, car and travel expenses, restaurants and credit cards.
His thefts all came to light when representatives from the church and the Pittsburgh Presbytery contacted the DA’s office after they noticed financial “irregularities.”
Peck is charged with theft and receiving stolen property.
Channel 11′s Gabriella DeLuca spoke to Peck’s attorney, Julia Gitelman. She told us, “It is shocking that the Pittsburgh Presbytery has chosen to resolve an honest dispute in this manner.”
Gitelman did not elaborate on the dispute she referenced.
11 News reached out to Pittsburgh Presbytery. They issued this statement:
An Administrative Commission of Pittsburgh Presbytery has been working for more than a year with the Community House Presbyterian Church to analyze its finances and put it on a solid footing for the future. It has discovered that some substantial funds designated for the church in recent years were not actually received by the church. In order to make a claim with the church’s insurer, the Commission had to file a police report about these missing funds. The members of the Commission are deeply saddened by this situation and pray for God’s justice and healing for all who are involved. There are no allegations of wrongdoing against the current pastor or leadership of the church. The Commission will continue to work alongside the church’s leaders and is cooperating fully with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office in its investigation.
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