Pastor: Suspect caught trying to break into Raleigh church

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man was taken into custody after the pastor says he was caught trying to break into the Living Life in Victory Church in Raleigh. It's the same church that was broken into twice and vandalized in just a week's time.

The suspect was identified as Deandre Bramlett. He was charged with burglary of a building.

Police have not said if Bramlett is responsible for the other crimes.

Thieves first broke into the Living Life in Victory Church on Old Austin Peay Highway last Wednesday and stole $40,000 worth of copper.

Deandre Bramlett

Lavender discovered Tuesday morning that the thieves had come back sometime between 3 p.m. Sunday and 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"We were looking at how to clean up and then call out for some estimates and when we discovered more damage was done, it was breathtaking," Lavender said.

The thieves smashed walls and tore apart ceiling tiles in search of copper wiring. They also stole electronics and threw around a bunch of donated children's books.

"I don't even know why a person would destroy a small library for the kids, and the toys were destroyed," Lavender said.

Lavender believes the thieves made entry by smashing through a wall in the church kitchen. He said they cut the alarm wires during last week's break-in so the alarm wasn't working this time.

In addition to all of the destruction, he said the thieves also left an unsavory calling card.

"Someone used the restroom and other things, the number two, while they was damaging the building."

But as bad as the damage looks, it's only a grazing wound to a church that's message of love and forgiveness will never be shaken.

"They're forgiven. At the same time, hopefully they get some help. We're here to help," Lavender said.

Children's Sunday services have been temporarily moved to another church building until repairs can be made.

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