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Trio arrested for church burglary

Three people have been arrested and charged with the burglary of a Screven County church – one of three burglaries of churches in the county last week.

The burglaries in Screven County were among a number of church burglaries in surrounding counties in recent weeks, said Cpl. Brett Dickerson, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department.

He asked caretakers of area churches to be especially aware of unusual activity around church property – such as cars lingering that seem out of place. And he said it would be a good time for church officials to make sure they have documented the serial numbers of property such as televisions, sound equipment and even vacuum cleaners.

“I’d hate for anybody to be scared,” but it wouldn’t hurt to be more cautious, Dickerson said.

Arrested for a burglary discovered at Middle Branch Church on May 28 were: Neico Albright, Vernard White and Albert Christopher Badger. Dickerson said the investigation continues and additional charges, such as theft by taking and vandalism are possible.

Someone forced open the front door to the church on Middle Branch Road and removed some copper tubing going to a stove. The central air conditioner also was stolen, along with additional copper wire and tubes. The three were arrested after an investigation that included taking a plaster cast of tire tracks left on church property.

Also last week, the back door of Lawton Grove Church was found kicked open on May 30. A 19-inch color TV was taken. And on May 30, 40 feet of chain link fence and the gate to the graveyard at Charlestown United Methodist Church was reported stolen.

Dickerson said investigators don’t know if the church burglaries are related to each other – they may be coincidences rather than the work of one person or group of people. But he said people might want to pay a little more attention to what they see happening near church property.