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Suspect is 3rd charged in church break-in



Staff Writer


A third suspect has been arrested in connection with a December break-in at a Lincolnton church.

Brandon Scott Barnette, 20, of Story Woods Road in Lincolnton, was apprehended Friday. He and two other suspects are accused of breaking into Without Walls Freedom Center on Dec. 13 and stealing several electronics and money from the church safe. A number of items were located at a pawnshop in Gaston County, authorities said.

Both Ralph Alexander Hall, 23, of Bessemer City and Jennifer Smith, of Lincolnton, were arrested shortly after the incident.

Church officials said the stolen funds were to be used for an upcoming mission trip to Haiti.

Barnette has been charged with one count each of breaking and entering a place of worship, larceny after breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods. He additionally faces a charge for a probation violation.

Officials with the Clerk of Court’s Office said Barnette has yet to receive a bond amount for the theft charges and is currently being held without bond in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center. His second court appearance is set for March 14.

Barnette was convicted of similar charges last March in Gaston County, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website.

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