|Burglars target county churches |
|Five area churches have been the targets of recent break-ins and local law enforcement have arrested three people believed to be connected with vandalisms of those churches. |
The Weakley County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release Thursday citing the arrests of three McKenzie residents for their alleged criminal involvement with the county churches. The release cites sheriff’s deputies “stepped up” patrols after Bethlehem Baptist Church was found burglarized on Wednesday.
WCSD Sgt. Danny Browning arrested Thomas Phillips, 34, after he was apparently found behind Corinth Baptist Church near Sharon around 1:30 Thursday morning. Two people reportedly ran out the back door of the church during the arrest.
The release states WCSD Chief Deputy Mark Black located the two people suspected in the incidents walking down Lower Sharon Road approximately an hour after Phillip’s arrest. Melissa Coen, 20 and Shawn Mickell, 25, were taken into custody.
Investigators reportedly found break-ins at Macedonia Church of Christ, Beech Grove full gospel church on Bynum Road and damage to the side doors of Oak Grove Baptist Church. Items that were allegedly taken from the county churches were discovered in a vehicle belonging to Coen as well as her residence.
The suspects were arraigned in Weakley County General Sessions Court on Thursday.
The WCSD is asking everyone in Weakley County and surrounding counties to check local churches for possible burglaries. According to a press release issued by the department Monday, the suspects admitted to breaking into at least five more churches in the area, but were unsure of the churches’ locations.
Those with information are asked to contact the WCSD at 364-5454.