Arrest made in thefts from church vehicles

A man is in jail in connection with a series of stolen catalytic converters from area church vehicles after Richmond County sheriff’s deputies caught him in the act.

Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were called to Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church on the 1400 block of Brown Street after a caller reported seeing a suspicious man under the church’s van, sheriff’s investigator Kendall Brown said in an e-mail.

When the deputies arrived, they found Lee Anthony Holmes, 32, of North Augusta, underneath the van trying to cut the catalytic converter off using a battery powered saw. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing.

Brown said the sheriff’s office connected him to catalytic converter thefts from transport vans at several area churches, including First New Hope Baptist on White Road, Crawford Avenue Baptist Church, New Destiny Triumph Church on Wrightsboro Road and Children Unique Christian Daycare Center, also on Wrightsboro Road.

The total damage was valued at more than $3,000.

In addition to the original trespass charge, Holmes faces five separate felony counts of criminal damage to property, Brown said.

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