The Lord giveth, and the youth minister taketh away 02 Apr 12

A former youth minister is charged with felony theft after stealing thousands of dollars from a Burnsville church.

John Glenn Mertes, 40, appeared in Dakota County District Court last week on the charge of theft by swindle.

According to the criminal complaint, church officials at Mary, Mother of the Church contacted police in early March after realizing a $500 check from a fundraiser was missing.

Police discovered that the check had been deposited into Mertes’ personal bank account, along 40 other checks totaling more than $8,000 made out to the church between August and December, 2011.

Mertes initially denied the charges, but later admitted to police he had been having financial issues. His next court date is set for July 9.