Two teenagers face charges in juvenile court in connection with a pair of church break-ins in northern Iredell County. The suspects’ names were not release because of their ages.

On Sunday, December 18, Iredell County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies responded to breaking and entering reports at two churches in the Union Grove area, Sheriff Darren Campbell said in a news release.

Members of Taylor Springs Baptist Church, located at 443 Taylor Springs Road, and Barkers Grove Baptist Church, located at 182 Barkers Grove Road, reported that property was damaged, and presents and Christmas cards were stolen during the break-ins, Campbell said.

The churches, which are approximately two miles away from each other, had been secured after morning worship services on Sunday, according to the news release. The deputies interviewed witnesses in the area who reported seeing two suspicious white males earlier in the day riding skateboards and scooters on the road.

These cases were assigned to Detective E. McNeely, who works in the ICSO Criminal Investigations Division.

On Monday, December 19, Deputy J. Betts was on patrol in the area near the churches when he observed a juvenile male riding an electric scooter on the roadway, according to the news release. Deputy Betts observed the juvenile from a distance and saw him walk to a barn on a nearby farm, Campbell said.

Deputy Betts approached the juvenile after seeing that the property the male was on was posted for no trespassing, according to the news release. Deputy Betts learned the juvenile was staying with another male juvenile friend in the area.

After speaking with the juvenile, Deputy Betts observed several Christmas cards lying on the ground near the barn. Deputy Betts contacted Detective McNeely to notify him of what was found.

After Detective McNeely responded to the scene, they determined that the Christmas cards belonged to members of the two churches that had been broken into, Campbell said.

After interviewing the male, Detective E. McNeely learned that the male and a second juvenile, both 16 years of age, were responsible for breaking into the two churches, according to the news release.

Detective McNeely pursued charges on both juveniles through Iredell County Juvenile Justice for Felony Conspire to Break and Enter, two counts of Felony Breaking and Entering a Place of Worship, Felony Larceny after Breaking and Entering, Misdemeanor Second Degree-Trespassing, and Misdemeanor Littering.

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