07/23/09 — Second arrest made in church thefts

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Second arrest made in church thefts

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on July 23, 2009 1:46 PM

A Goldsboro man was an accomplice in mid-June thefts of air conditioners from local churches, Wayne County Sheriff's Office detectives allege.

Jason Charles Phelps, 32, of Lisa Lane, faces six counts of felony-level larceny and possession of stolen goods, Capt. Tom Effler said.

Detectives say the charges are tied to six thefts between June 14 through June 18, at Shady Grove Church, Stevens Church, Falling Creek Church, Selah Church and Thunder Swamp Church.

Dustin Shane Holland, 29, of U.S. 13 South, previously was charged with the same counts as Phelps, who allegedly drove the "getaway" vehicle after participating in the thefts, authorities said. Looking into Holland's involvement led investigators to Phelps, authorities said.

Effler said that Phelps, who was jailed under a $60,000 bond, was cooperative with investigators and admitted to his involvement.

Investigators said the men did not earn much from the alleged thefts. The units were worth a reported $30,000, but the men earned just $116 scrapping them and selling the parts, detectives said.

Because the entire units were stolen along with mounting pads below them, investigators originally thought the units may have been stolen to install illegally. When parts of the units were located, however, they were too badly damaged to be of any use to the victims, Detective Sgt. Rick Farfour said.

Investigation into Holland began after a traffic stop turned up a piece of an air conditioning unit in his vehicle.

Investigators said Holland was also linked to a break-in at a U.S. 13 Friendly Mart.