Sheriff#039;s office arrests three juveniles for church burglary

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 11, 2006

Three Butler County juveniles face felony charges in connection with the burglary of a church and a house and the vandalism of another church in late January, according to Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris.

The boys - ages 12, 14 and 15 - were arrested on Monday, Feb. 6 after a local resident noticed the them walking down the roads where the churches and house was located, according to Butler County Investigator Kenneth Hadley.

The boys, who Harris said had admitted to the crimes, broke into Gravel Hill Baptist Church and took a fire extinguisher and a collection can with donations estimated to be worth $100 on Jan. 22.

On the same night, the boys then walked down Gravel Hill Road to Mount Ida Road Baptist Church where they sprayed a fire extinguisher's contents onto the floor of the church causing about $400 worth of damage. They also took $20 worth of food and drinks.

Two days later, the boys then allegedly burglarized a home at 683 Mount Ida Road where they took a microwave, battery charger and a pair of red shoes whose total value was estimated to be $84. The damage to the door to the home was estimated to be $200.

&#8220Investigator Hadley got up enough evidence and notified the parents, and then finally the boys admitted to it,” Harris said.

None of the items taken except for a $50 check were recovered, Hadley said.

The boys will go before District Judge MacDonald Russell this Wednesday with each one facing two counts of criminal mischief third-degree, two counts of burglary third-degree, one count of burglary second-degree and three counts of theft of property third-degree.

The boys are currently being held in the Youth Detention Facility in Bay Minette.

The burglary and vandalism comes on the heels of the state fire marshal calling for increased patrols of rural churches throughout the state because of the recent burning of nine rural churches in the state.

&#8220We are beefing up patrols and leaving security reminders at each church in the county,” Harris said. &#8220We have several church members who are making regular patrols. Any suspicious activity at a church or suspicious person walking close to a church is subject to being stopped.”

Harris estimates there are more than 100 churches within rural Butler County.