Two men have been charged for allegedly vandalizing a Jones County church in an attempt to steal money. Deputies said the suspects also desecrated an American flag during the crime.
The incident happened Sunday at the St. James AME Zion Church on Highway 58, near the Long Point Community in Maysville.
According to deputies, a parishioner saw an occupied vehicle in the church's parking lot and called authorities. When deputies arrived at the scene, they saw that the church's front door was practically destroyed.
Deputies said after they entered the church, they discovered that other doors were damaged as well. In addition, several items were strewn all over the place. Deputies said they also found an American flag balled up, thrown, and left hanging from a chandelier above the pews.
Brandon James Lamb, 22, of Grist Mill Drive in Pikeville, and Joseph Doyle Perkins, 16, of 193 Wilbert Lane in Pikeville, were arrested at the scene. In addition, two juvenile females inside the vehicle were taken into custody. According to deputies, the suspects vandalized the church in search of money, including trying to find cash in the tithe and offering box.
The suspects did not make off with money, but did steal drinks from the church's refrigerator and cooked sausage in the kitchen, deputies said. The suspects' vehicle also had a small amount of Marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to investigators.
Lamb and Perkins are each charged with felony breaking and entering a place of worship, felony larceny after breaking and entering, misdemeanor injury to real property, multiple counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The two were being held in the Jones County Jail under $25,000 secured bonds.
The juvenile subjects were released to their parents, deputies said. Juvenile petitions are pending.
Edward Dillahunt, a man who has gone to the church most of his life, said he was shocked about the vandalism.
"Evidently, they're not Christian," Dillahunt said. "A Christian doesn't break into another person's home. The church is your home with fellowship. They got to control their lives."
"There is a special place for someone who desecrates the house of the Lord and it's not in the Jones County Jail," said Sheriff Danny Heath.