“We’re trying to keep our spirits up,” says Sarah Haugen, office manager at Bethany Church in Montpelier, as she and the church’s community join with police investigators and the Art Resource Association to recover seven paintings stolen from the gallery in August. “Mostly we just want them back, any way that’s possible,” Roxbury artist Linda Maney was the first to discover the theft of three paintings during the day on Aug. 24, including her acrylic painting “Cabin Fever Expressed.” The thieves returned and broke into the church on the night of Aug. 28, taking five more pieces, including one by the late father of artist Missy Storrow. One piece by Liz Le Serviget was large: 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, priced at $2,000. An event to raise awareness of the artwork by the Art Resource Association on Sept. 16 at the church’s gallery attracted community members to view facsimiles of the missing art and raised $940 to reimburse the artists. Haugen credits the Art Resource Association as the “real heroes” for their support. “We have had a really great response, and we are moving forward to the next Art Walk on Friday, Oct. 7.”Rev. Amy Pitton has organized a GoFundMe page to reimburse the artists for the stolen paintings (www.gofundme.com) with a goal of $4,000. She said that a window was broken and the thieves used a pry bar to attempt to enter the boiler room. Haugen added, “They desperately tried to kick in the door to the sacristy where things used in worship are kept. They entered my office and left some valuables untouched … so they mostly intended to take the art. It opened our eyes to the need for better security.” A security camera has been installed, and the public is asked to keep an eye out for the stolen art. Because the tags were stolen along with the paintings on the second break in, some speculate that the thieves planned to sell the art. Montpelier police say the investigation is ongoing. Citizens who see something or know something about these paintings should contact the Montpelier Police Department at their non-emergency number, 802-223-3445.