Another co-defendant pleads guilty in church break-in

Another co-defendant charged with stealing from a local church this summer pleaded guilty to multiple charges Wednesday.

Bryce M. Whitt, 20, of Urbana, pleaded guilty to a fourth degree felony safecracking charge and two misdemeanor criminal trespass charges. A sentencing hearing for Whitt is scheduled for Nov. 6.

Whitt is one of four people indicted for felony breaking and entering charges in August for allegedly breaking into and stealing from the Renewed Strength Church, 4194 W. U.S. Route 36.

Champaign County deputies responded to the church on July 26 on a reported breaking and entering of the church. After gaining entry into the church by breaking a window, a safe, multiple musical instruments and equipment and an unknown amount of money were reportedly taken.

Whitt is the second co-defendant in the case within the last week to plead guilty to charges.

On Oct. 8, Joshua D. Hower, 20, of Sidney, pleaded guilty to felony charges of breaking and entering and safecracking in addition to two fourth degree misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass. A sentencing hearing for Hower is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Co-defendant Cortney R. Hill, 20, of Sidney was indicted on one count each of breaking and entering, criminal damaging or endangering, theft, safecracking and possessing criminal tools. She pleaded guilty to a fourth degree felony charge of safecracking on Sept. 30 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 27.

Andrew Baker, 20, of St. Paris, was also indicted on three counts of breaking and entering, two counts of criminal damaging or endangering and one count each of petty theft, breaking and entering with a specification for forfeiture of property, theft with a specification for forfeiture of property, safecracking with a specification for forfeiture of property, possessing criminal tools and possessing criminal tools with a specification for forfeiture of property.

By Nick Walton

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