Police: PTC church burglar caught

A 24-year-old Peachtree City man has been arrested for burglarizing two churches here, taking electronics, cash, computers and musical instruments, police said Thursday afternoon.

Authorities also linked Joseph Michael Robinson to two similar incidents in unincorporated Fayette and Coweta counties, police said.

A substantial amount of electronics and money was found in Robinson’s residence at 203 Morgans Turn, and some of the items appear to be related to a fifth church burglary, at a location in North Georgia, police said.

The Peachtree City incidents were reported at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Peachtree City Christian Church Nov. 23. The offender used a pry tool to enter both churches and then enter multiple offices in each church, police said.

During the investigation, Peachtree City Police were notified that the sheriff’s offices in Fayette and Coweta were investigating similar incidents. They joined forces, leading to the arrest of Robinson, who will face charges filed by the Fayette and Coweta sheriffs also, police said.

The burglaries occurred sometime during the nighttime hours Nov. 22 and early morning Nov. 23.

Peachtree City Christian Church Business Administrator Jim Dressler said he thought the burglars entered the building through the front door, adding that they destroyed the hardware on several locked doors, broke into two or three file cabinets and stole an iPod, a laptop computer and some cash.

Dressler said that one of the ministers, while in his office after arriving at work at 7 a.m. on Nov. 23, heard a noise in the building. Though not confirmed, Dressler said the noise might have been the burglars exiting the church.

The burglary at St. Paul Lutheran occurred during the same time frame. St. Paul is a short distance to the north and, like Peachtree City Christian, is just off Ga. Highway 74.

Pastor Dan Schepmann at St. Paul said the burglary there occurred after someone broke into the building through a perimeter door between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Schepmann said several offices were accessed though only minor items were missing and minimal damage was done.

Schepmann said the church had a previously adopted policy in place that called for as little money as possible to be kept on site.

Peachtree City Police spokesperson Capt. Rosanna Dove urged local businesses and churches to increase the frequency of their bank deposits during the holiday season.

If a suspicious vehicle or person is observed in the area of a business or church, please call the Fayette County E-911 center at 770-461-HELP (4357) to report it, Dove said.

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