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Police round up church theft suspects

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer
Two suspects have been taken into custody while a third person remains at large in connection with a break-in last week at Without Walls Freedom Center in Lincolnton.
Dallas Police have arrested Ralph Alexander Hall, 23, of Bessemer City, while Lincolnton police have apprehended Jennifer Smith of Lincolnton.
Each has been charged with possession of stolen goods, according to a Lincolnton Police Department press release.
Authorities are still searching for Brandon Scott Barnette, 20, of Story Woods Road in Lincolnton. He faces several charges, including breaking and entering a place of worship, felony larceny and possession of stolen goods.
Barnette is described as being 5-foot-11 and weighing 150 pounds. He has strawberry-blond hair.
The trio is accused breaking into the church on Dec. 13 and  taking electronics, along with a safe containing money. The money was to have been used for travel expenses and schoo supplies for a church missions trip to Haiti this month, church officials said. Police located a number of the stolen items at a Gaston County pawn shop on Thursday, a release said.
Earlier this year, Barnette was convicted of multiple felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny in Gaston County, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website.
Anyone with information on Barnette’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crimestoppers at (704) 736-8909 or the Lincolnton Police Department at (704) 736-8900. Authorities said they believe Barnette is somewhere in Dallas or Bessemer City.

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