Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Several face charges over church break-in

By Margie Wuebker
An 18-year-old Celina man faces multiple charges after he allegedly entered a local church on three separate occasions and took items ranging from hand-held bells to electronic equipment.
In addition, grand jurors indicted two additional people in connection with the same incidents at St. John Lutheran Church, 1100 N. Main St., Celina.
William L. McGhee, who reportedly has no permanent address but periodically stays with friends and relatives, is charged with three counts of breaking and entering, three counts of theft and one count each of burglary and tampering with evidence. The charges range from a second-degree felony down to a first-degree misdemeanor.
Also facing charges are Jacob W. Burckholter, 18, 1130 Jackson Drive, Celina, one count each of breaking and entering and theft; and Ashley L. Williams, 18, 2215 Fleetfoot Road, St. Henry, one count each of tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property.
McGhee allegedly took four sets of handbells and one set of tubular bells valued at more than $5,000 from the church on Oct. 22. He allegedly entered the building two more times - Oct. 25 and 26 - and removed walkie talkies valued at less than $500 and televisions and other electronic equipment valued at more than $500. The tampering with evidence incident occurred Oct. 29 when he allegedly altered, concealed or destroyed items to impair their value as evidence in an investigation.  
He remains incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond pending a Dec. 16 arraignment hearing in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Burckholter allegedly accompanied McGhee to the church Oct. 26 and helped remove the large-screen television and other electronic equipment while Williams allegedly received the stolen property and tampered with evidence. Burckholter and Williams will make initial appearances before Judge Jeffrey Ingraham on Dec. 9. Both remain free on their own recognizance.
Celina Police were contacted by a Dayton pawn shop owner regarding a man identified as McGhee who sold him a set of handbells later determined to be the property of the local church.
The other items - a 42-inch LCD television set, two laptop computers, DVD and VHS players and two boom boxes - were found in Grand Lake near the Coldwater Creek bridge by members of the Celina Fire Department dive team. Divers entered the water on two occasions after McGhee reportedly told authorities of the disposal site. Other items have not been located.
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Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
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