Church theft suspect charged

A 29-year-old Gloversville man faces charges stemming from one of the break-ins that have occurred a
Michael W.D. Johnson
Michael W.D. Johnson

A 29-year-old Gloversville man faces charges stemming from one of the break-ins that have occurred at seven area churches since last November.

Police identified the suspect as Michael W.D. Johnson, of Six Avenue, who was arrested Feb. 1 on one count of third-degree burglary and petty larceny. Police said they expect to file additional charges as their investigation continues.

Johnson, who is still on probation for a 2005 conviction in a break-in at the Salvation Army building in Gloversville, was arraigned in City Court where bail was set at $5,000.

Police said Johnson got in through windows and then stole small sums of cash, electronic appliances and even food.

The church burglaries have been a frequent topic in the community.

Capt. James Lorenzoni said Johnson was identified as the suspect through diligent work by both detectives and patrol officers. He said evidence collected at the scenes was also instrumental in making a case against Johnson, who was spotted during patrols in proximity to at least one of the burglaries, according to police.

The burglary spree began Nov. 24 at Foothills United Methodist Church and ended Jan. 20 at the First Presbyterian Church on West Fulton Street.

In between, police said, there were break-ins at the North Main Street Methodist Church on Nov. 30; Kingsboro Assembly of God Church Dec. 13; Foothills United Methodist Church on Dec. 17; North Main Street Methodist Church Jan. 5 and the Seventh-day Adventist Church Jan. 17.

At Kingsboro Assembly of God Church, the burglar broke into a safe and stole some change.

A DVD player stolen from the Adventist Church was recovered by police.

Lorenzoni said the suspect might have preferred churches because they are older buildings with older locks and usually are not equipped with alarm systems.

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