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Fugitive priest turns himself in to British police

FILE - This is a Nov. 29, 2011 file photo of Church of England vicar Simon Reynolds. British police said on Friday, July 24, 2015 the 50-year-old, who was convicted of pocketing around 24,000 pounds ($37,000) of church funds, may have travelled to mainland Europe and are asking the missing Church of England vicar to return. (Anna Gowthorpe/PA via AP, File) UNITED KINGDOM OUT

LONDON (AP) — A priest who fled to mainland Europe after being convicted of stealing church funds has returned to England and turned himself in to authorities, British police said Monday.

Police had traced and made contact with 50-year-old priest Simon Reynolds over the weekend and that he had been arrested after giving himself up, Det. Chief Insp. Steve Whittaker said.

Reynolds became a fugitive Thursday when he failed to return to court after lunch while he was in the process of being convicted of four counts of theft.

Reynolds was found guilty of pocketing 24,000 pounds ($37,000), which was meant for wedding, funerals and graveyard monuments while he was the priest at All Saints Church in Darton, 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of London, between 2007 and 2013. He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

His church colleagues had issued statements imploring Reynolds to turn himself in.

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