Churches burgled, damaged in Johnston County

(Carleigh Griffeth | CBS North Carolina)

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Last week was a bad one for churches in Johnston County. Four different churches across the county reported property damage or burglary. CBS North Carolina visited the churches Monday and spoke with members about what happened.

The back of Discovery Church in Johnston County is riddled with bullet holes, and no one knows where they came from.

“Church members who work on the facilities were out in the back and they noticed it, and came in and mentioned it to me,” said Interim Pastor Alan Bancroft.

Bancroft says they found them Wednesday last week, and they guess it happened the weekend before that. Bancroft doesn’t think it was a malicious act, but the fact that it could have somehow been an accident isn’t comforting either.

“There’s a bullet hole right next to the door that kids use to go to the playground,” he said.


Johnston County investigators are looking into another incident at Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church, where they say thieves broke into the building and stole a TV and vacuum cleaner. Church members say they left behind another TV they cracked while trying to move it. We’re also told the crooks overlooked other electronics, and even left behind a flashlight that the sheriff’s office took for evidence.

Smithfield Police are also investigating damage reports. A window was broken at the Mount Zion AME Church, and $800 worth of vandalism was done to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Bancroft is surprised at all the cases involving churches, but says he’s seen it before.

“I think sometimes people are just desperate, and churches seem like an easy target,” he said.

Investigators do not believe the incidents are connected, but are asking the public for any information.

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