Crime & Courts

Thieves targeting churches during worship services, Midlands sheriff says

Deputies in Fairfield County, SC, are looking for this man, who is believed to be involved in thefts from several area churches during worship hours.
Deputies in Fairfield County, SC, are looking for this man, who is believed to be involved in thefts from several area churches during worship hours. Fairfield County Sheriff's Office

Thieves have targeted several churches in the Midlands, stealing from worshipers’ cars and yanking parts from buses and vans belonging to the churches, according to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.

A vehicle was broken into at a church in the Jenkinsville area of Fairfield County during worship services Sunday, Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery said in a release Tuesday. Money and a purse containing bank cards were stolen, and the victim’s cards were used a short time later at a Dollar General store.

Similar thefts were reported in nearby Lancaster County on Sunday morning, and are believed to have been carried out by the same person, said Montgomery, whose office released surveillance images of the likely suspect and a vehicle involved in the thefts.

Several other churches have been victimized in recent weeks, during which someone pulled items like catalytic converters and exhaust system parts from church buses and vans, Montgomery said. However, it is not clear if the person pictured in the surveillance images also is responsible for those thefts.

The sheriff urged church and community members to be extra vigilant for suspicious activity around their houses of worship. Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 803-635-4141.

Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the pictured suspect or the vehicle is asked to call 911.

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.


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