The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
David Wright, pastor of The Revival Church in La Harpe, Kansas, was arrested and taken into custody on a theft charge from Rule, Texas. Wright’s wife,Ashley, was arrested for hindering the arrest of her husband. Wright also faces a local charge of impersonating an officer.
Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy says the La Harpe Police Chief is in custody over a theft charge from Texas. Authorities arrested Police Chief Ashley Wright Tuesday morning along with her husband David, who has a warrant out of Rule, TX where David was a former police chief. Sheriff Murphy says Chief Ashley Wright’s arrest was because she refused to let deputies enter their home to execute the warrant against her husband. David ran from the home but was taken into custody outside.
The couple lives in the old La Harpe Methodist Episcopal Church, where David serves as the pastor. Sheriff Murphy says David also faces a local charge of impersonating an officer for reportedly acting on his wife’s behalf in La Harpe as well as the theft charge from Texas. Texas prosecutors charged David in June 2016 after he was dismissed as the Rule Police Chief. His firing came in October 2015 for improper investigation involving a boy assaulting his daughter in school. According to court documents, David refused to turn in his badge and identification that lead to theft charge. David is being held on no bond until his extradition hearing.
A January 17, 2018 post on the City of La Harpe website gives the “reasons” the Wrights came to La Harpe:
Ashley and David Wright’s belief that God wanted them to start a church led them to invest all their money into an abandoned church in LaHarpe.
“We don’t have a dime but we’re very wealthy in spirit,” David said. “We have nothing. We are nobody. It’s all God. He sent us here to revive the area. We know He’s going to provide.”
The couple met through their jobs in law enforcement. Ashley originally is from Fort Worth, Texas, and David is from Baltimore, Md. Together, they decided to leave their jobs and devote their time in service to God. They both grew up in a Baptist religion. David has no formal theological training but said he is ordained through an apostolic church in Virginia.
Previous to coming to LaHarpe six weeks ago they lived “off the grid” in rural Montana.
Along with Ashley’s three daughters, they suffered through bitter cold temperatures with no utilities and no running water.
Ashley said she survived close calls on harrowing mountain roads with an hour and a half drive to work.
“We had true miracles on that mountain,” Ashley said.
While Ashley worked, David studied the word of God.
“It was just me and God on that mountain, all day and all night to hear His voice,” David said.
After about two years, the couple felt God wanted them to lead a church. They explored options on the East Coast and were on their way to see a church in Pennsylvania when their SUV engine blew a head gasket. While stranded in a small town in Wisconsin they saw an online listing for a church for sale in LaHarpe.
The couple has no ties to the area.
“God is in Kansas,” David said. “I said, OK, that’s where He wants us to go.”
The couple invested their savings and money from the sale of their Montana property, about $20,000, into the church, which they have named “The Revival Church.”
Since the purchase, the couple said they have discovered the church needs significantly more work than they initially assumed.
The couple can’t yet have services in the sanctuary because the area is not heated. They plan to have a special service at 6 tonight with a meal, music and a brief message. Their church is non-denominational and not affiliated with any religious organization, but the Wrights consider it to be an “apostolic church.” They said they are in the process of obtaining tax exempt status with a 501(c)(3) designation.
“I just want everyone to feel the Holy Spirit,” Ashley said.
“We’re here to take the area back for the Kingdom of God,” David said. “It all starts with obedience and God’s love.”