The offenders have been identified in a church break-in that occurred last month in Burke County. The break-in to Israel Chapel AME on Israel Chapel Church Road in Connelly Springs was discovered in mid-September and it included vandalism and the theft of items.
A deputy responded following the discovery of the break-in and spoke with a church member who said that services had not been held at the church since March, 2020, and the last time the church had been checked for security purposes was on June 7.
The church member went to the church on September 14 and noticed the deadbolt was unlocked and realized the church had been broken into, vandalized and some equipment items had been taken. It appeared that a fire extinguisher had been set off inside the church and the altar had been spray painted with graffiti. There was property thrown throughout the church and the suspects had walked on top of the pews leaving footprints in the dry chemical extinguisher residue.
During the course of the investigation detectives from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous tip from a citizen that led to the identification of the offenders in this case. Upon further investigation all of the offenders were found to be juveniles living in, or visiting, the Israel Chapel Church Road community. All of the juveniles were subsequently interviewed in the presence of their legal guardians. Due to the age of the offenders, the case has now been referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice for prosecution.