Couple arrested in connection to church burglary

Published 8:19 pm Thursday, December 21, 2017

Two people are behind bars, charged with burglary and vandalism of a Warren County church and a popular event center.

According to Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace, around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Deputy Connie Ricketts responded to a suspicious person call where a male and female were walking on Gibson Road.

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The pair was not spotted, but upon further investigation, Ricketts found property that appeared to have been taken from Wilderness Baptist Church. A subsequent investigation of the church with Det. Stacy Rollison joining Ricketts indicated the main sanctuary of the church, fellowship hall and two out buildings had been broken into.

Deputies recovered a pushcart on the church grounds that contained a propane tank. A large garbage can also on the grounds contained a video projector, keyboard, pressure washer and miscellaneous tools taken from the church, according to Pace.

When the church staff arrived, they found holes had been punched into walls and other vandalism throughout the church.

Upon further investigation, deputies discovered the Event Center – a popular building used for wedding receptions and other activities – had also been burglarized, according to Pace. He said videotapes and other items were missing from that facility.

Rollins and Ricketts were able to determine through investigation the identities of the suspects who were seen walking down Gibson Road.

Brandon Keith McDaniel, 25, and Brittney Leeann Bost, 22, were arrested and charged with five counts of burglary one count each of felony malicious mischief. Both gave Vicksburg addresses, according to Pace. They are in the custody of the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and had their initial court appearances Thursday. Bonds for each were set at $30,000.

Pace said the motive for the burglaries and vandalism appeared to be “financial gain.”

“It’s difficult to explain why someone would break into a house of worship,” Pace said. He said such crimes are not immune to the holiday season.

“The holiday season generally does not show a spike in such crimes,” Pace said. “Law enforcement in general is busy this time of year dealing with a lot of crime, but not specific to churches.”