Three suspects found in church break-in


Three people were taken into custody Monday in reference to suspected involvement with the breaking and entering of a local church.

Champaign County deputies responded to the Renewed Strength Church, 4194 W. U.S. Route 36, Sunday on a reported breaking and entering. During the early morning hours, someone entered the church by breaking a window.

Culprits removed a wall safe, two guitars, a saxophone, amplifier and other items including an unknown amount of currency.

The sheriff’s office received a tip in reference to the stolen amplifier on Monday.

A followup investigation occurred and investigators along with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on a residence in Sidney. Champaign County investigators found the church’s safe and other items that may lead to involvement of other crimes in or around Champaign County.

The three individuals taken into custody are:

•Andrew M. Baker, 20, of 13308 state Route 55, St. Paris, was charged with safe-cracking and breaking and entering.

•Cortney R. Hill, 20, of 144 Brooklyn Ave., Sidney, was charged with breaking and entering.

•Joshua D. Hower, 20, of 3237 Leatherwood Creek Road, Sidney, was charged with safe-cracking and breaking and entering.

According to the Champaign County Municipal Court’s website, Baker and Hill appeared in court for arraignment hearings on Tuesday. Bond was established at $2,500 for both co-defendants, who were ordered to have no contact with other co-defendants.

Preliminary hearings for both individuals are scheduled for Aug. 4.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is continuing an active investigation into the incident and asks anyone with any information involving these suspects to contact the sheriff’s office criminal investigation division at 937-484-6091.

By Nick Walton

[email protected]

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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