How do you steal from the Church of God?

| October 25, 2010

MARTIN COUNTY, N.C.- When someone steals from us, it leaves us with a sense of exposure and loss. But, what kind of person would steal from a place of worship; Martin County deputies say a person like Kimothy Harrell would. They've charged him with multiple counts that spanned half a year.

Rock Hill Baptist is just one of the churches Kimothy Harrell is charged with burglarizing. Criminal experts say it’s difficult to diagnose what motivates a person to steal, especially when it comes to stealing from the house of God.

It's hard to imagine stealing from the Lord's house, but Kimothy Harrell is charged with doing it at least five times.

“They tend to be rather methodical in selecting their targets and they are actually quite difficult to catch,” said Dr. William Bloss, ECU Criminologist.

Criminologist Dr. William Bloss says the churches could have been targets of opportunity. Most of them are located in rural, remote locations in Martin County. Bloss says property crimes are much more widespread than crimes of violence. It's normal for one burglar to commit a high volume of crime. “If they're stealing to get things of value to support chemical dependency, then they're highly motivated to commit a lot of crimes to keep a stream of revenue coming in to support their habit,” said Bloss.

Arrest reports show no signs of vandalism in the churches. But it doesn't matter if there was damage to the property. “Both vandalism and burglary essentially deprive the owner of the lawful use of something that belongs to them.” Bloss says it makes little difference to the victim.

Harrell is under a $100,000 bond at the Pitt County Detention Center. His first court appearance is set for Monday. Dr. Bloss says if investigators find the crimes were motivated by some kind of retaliation against the church that could constitute a hate crime.

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Category: Church Security

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