An ongoing investigation into several church break-ins across Sampson County has landed one man in jail, with the possibility of more charges to come.
Richard E. Cashwell was taken into custody Thursday afternoon and charged with three counts burglary/place of worship, two counts larceny after breaking and entering, one count burglary/forcible entry and one count possessing/concealing stolen property, all felonies.
According to Sampson Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith, Cashwell is charged in connection with three church break-ins, the first occurring on March 15 at Bearskin Missionary Baptist Church on Bearskin Road. In that incident, a TV was stolen and property at the church damaged. Total damage, including the stolen property, was $1,800.
The second break-in occurred on March 25 at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church on Bonnettsville Road, where $18,900 in vandalism was reported.
Another break-in occurred nearly a month later, on April 24, at McGee United Methodist Church on McGee Church Road. In that incident, $100 in damage was reported.
“Through an extensive investigation, officers were able to identify a suspect and find probable cause to arrest him,” Smith said when contacted Friday afternoon.
The lieutenant praised the investigative work of the officers in linking Cashwell to the rash of crimes. “These officers did an outstanding job in this investigation and their hard work paid off.”
Smith said a probe was ongoing and acknowledged that officers did believe more charges would be forthcoming.
Cashwell remained in the Sampson County Detention Center Friday afternoon under a $37,500 bond. He is expected to make his first appearance in District Court next week, on Tuesday, June 3.
(Editor’s note: Editor Sherry Matthews can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 112. Follow her on Twitter at sieditor1960 and the paper @SampsonInd, and like us on Facebook.)