CALDWELL, N.C. (WNCN) – The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday morning that they have arrested and charged a man with vandalizing two Orange County churches, which resulted in more than $20,000 in damage.
Brayden Tyler Swain, 21, of Person County, is charged with breaking or entering a place of worship, injury to real property, injury to personal property, and safe cracking.
The Little River Presbyterian Church and the New Bethel United Methodist Church were broken into sometime after 9:30 p.m. Oct. 5, the sheriff’s office said.
According to authorities, Swain forcibly entered the churches, broke panes of glass and caused damage to the doors. Authorities said that “Once inside, the [Swain] continued their destructive rampage.” Both churches sustained significant damage in the vandalism incidents.
Church members said the safe was targeted.
“They managed to get the door open. When they accessed the room they did not focus on anything except the safe,” said Earl McKee, chairman of Little River Presbyterian. “As you can see, they used a hammer to knock the dial and the handle off the safe in order to get it open.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said nothing appeared to have been stolen.
Authorities did not give an exact cost to repair the damage, but said that it appears the cost to repair and replace items will exceed $20,000.
“Any attack on a place of worship, regardless of whether it’s a church, or mosque, synagogue, cathedral, it doesn’t matter. It’s an attack on society,” McKee said.
Swain was placed under a $5,000 secured bond and is being held at the Orange County Detention Center.
His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday in Hillsborough District Court.
Authorities encourage anyone with information to contact them at the following numbers or email address:
Investigator Jason Nazworth 919-245-2900 (Office), 919-245-2925 (Desk)
Investigator Keith Goodwin 919-245-2900 (Office), 919-245-2918 (Desk)