- Special Sections
- Public Notices
A Lancaster man was arrested at his home Thursday, Oct. 24, and charged in a spree of recent church burglaries.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has charged Joseph P. Geddings, 30, 785 W. Brooklyn Ave., with five counts of second degree burglary, and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses.
According to a release from the sheriff’s office, in each of the five church burglaries, Geddings entered the churches by breaking a window and then stole electronics, such as computers and audio/visual and sound equipment.
Physical damages to the churches totaled $2,020 and the value of the stolen electronics was $3,870. Some of the stolen items have been recovered, according to the sheriff’s office.
The first of the five church burglaries occurred between Oct. 15 and 18 at David Stand AME Zion Church, 1986 Riverside Road. The burglary was reported Oct. 18.
The second and third incidents occurred between 5 p.m. Oct. 19 and 7:30 a.m. Oct. 20 at Shiloh ARP Church, 346 Shiloh Unity Road, and Destiny Bible Church, 2422 Flat Creek Road (S.C. 903).
The fourth incident occurred Monday, Oct. 21, at Bethel Baptist Church, 2893 Bethel Road.
The fifth incident occurred Wednesday, Oct. 23, at New Hope AME Zion Church, 3383 Pink Plyler Road.
Geddings was charged with obtaining money by false pretense because he used a fake identification card at a local pawn shop while selling some of the stolen property, according to the release. Investigators were checking local pawn shops for the stolen merchandise.
“First, I would also like to thank our investigators who worked really hard to get this case solved before he was able to do any more damage. They did a really great job,” Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said.
“Secondly, it is a shame that someone would break into a place of worship. Geddings has done this type of thing before and we intend to ask the judicial system to seek the maximum allowable penalty.”
Geddings pled guilty to more than 10 burglaries and a host of other property crimes in 2008, most of which occurred at a church.
He was sentenced to 10 years, suspended on serving five years, with five years probation. Faile said Geddings was released from prison sometime last year.
“This guy is proof – he can’t mix with society; he needs to be in jail,” Faile said. “A man who will break into a house of worship will break into anything.”
Geddings is jailed at the Lancaster County Detention Center, awaiting a bond hearing.
Contact Carolina Gateway Editor Jane Alford at (803) 283-1154