The Upson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating five break-ins at local churches that have occurred over the past week. One church was burglarized twice. Despite the number of burglaries, only a laptop computer, an electric guitar, and $60 in cash have been discovered missing.
The first burglary was discovered about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 17. Deputy Gerren Vining was on patrol doing building checks when he found a door to the Fellowship Hall of the United Pentecostal Church at 1876 Highway 19 North has been pried open. Sgt. Neill Sanders arrived to assist, and the two officers checked the building. No one was found inside, but a window in the nursery had been pushed in, and the front door of the church was unlocked. They also found that the Pastor’s Office door has been busted in, with desk and filing cabinet drawers opened.
Pastor James A. King was notified and arrived at the church. When King tried to turn on the lights in the Fellowship Hall, nothing worked. He told the officers he had been at the church about 8 p.m. the previous night, and that all the lights had worked at that time. A check of the breaker box found that all of the electrical breakers had been turned off. Pastor King said that about $60 in tithe money was missing from the filing cabinet in his office, and a white Fender electric guitar, valued at $1,000, was missing from the sanctuary.
It is believed the other four burglaries all occurred on Dec. 20-21. Sgt. Robert Barfield responded to a call from Pastor King at the United Pentecostal Church about 9:30 a.m. that morning. Another door at the church had been broken into, but this time, nothing was found missing.
A short time later, Sgt. Barfield was doing a building check at Antioch United Methodist Church at 1606 Highway 19 North when he found an open door. A check of the interior found that drawers and cabinets throughout the church had been opened. Curtis Allen, Chairman of the Trustees of the church, arrived and after checking, stated he could find nothing missing.
While Barfield was investigating the break-in at Antioch UMC, Deputy Timothy Salter was called to the nearby Seventh Day Adventist Church at 1548 Highway 19 North. Members had noticed open doors on the cabinets and called police. Head Deacon Chris Couron said the Pastor’s Office door had been pried open and the desk drawers gone through, but nothing was missing.
Dep. Barfield then went to check his own church, First Freewill Baptist at 146 Harp Road, and found an outside door had been forced open, and the Pastor’s Office door had also been forced open. Pastor Robert Daniel arrived and stated a Dell laptop computer with a charger was missing.