Reward offered in Johnston County church break-ins
Posted February 17, 2011 4:06 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2011 6:48 p.m. EST
Smithfield, N.C. — Johnston County authorities are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in four church break-ins near Benson that investigators think might be connected.
Authorities said Thursday that the thief or thieves broke into Johnston Memorial Church, Pleasant Hill Christian Church, Stephens Chapel Baptist Church and Plainview Church by smashing out windows in the back of each.
Each of the churches is within a couple miles of the others.
The break-ins were discovered Sunday morning as church staff prepared for services. Investigators believe they might have occurred sometime late Saturday or early Sunday.
Johnston Memorial reported an iPad, digital camera, laptop and some cash had been stolen. At Plainview, $800 worth of audio cables were reported stolen.
“Anyone that will break into someone's house, that's bad. It takes a sorry individual to break into God's house, a church,” Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said. “I’m not going to sit idle and let the thugs break into a church and go unpunished.”
It’s a felony in North Carolina to break into a place of worship.