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Teens charged in two Salem church burglaries

Thursday, August 26, 2004

One teen also faces court-martial

Two Salem men were charged with multiple felony counts Aug. 20 after they admitted to burglarizing two area churches.

Joseph M. Barr, 18, and Christopher A. Christie, 19, have each been charged with commercial burglary, a class C felony; theft of property, a class C felony; and criminal mischief in the first degree, a class C felony.

The charges stem from break-ins at Immanuel Baptist Church and the First Assembly of God Church, both in Salem.

Salem Police Chief Al Roork said Barr, Christie and Eric Broyles broke into Immanuel Baptist June 24 and stole $500. Officials at the Immanuel Baptist said the money was stolen from a youth ministry collection jug.

Roork said the trio caused $600 worth of damage to a window and air conditioner during the burglary.

He said Barr and Christie broke into the First Assembly of God Church July 12. Barr and Christie entered the church by prying the door lock with a credit card, according to the Salem Police Department.

Roork said Bar and Christie stole a safe containing $400 from the First Assembly. After the money was removed, the two threw the safe off a bridge on Fairview Road, 4 miles south of Salem, Roork said.

Roork said the churches' stolen money wasn't used wisely. "When I asked them what they used the money for, they said tattooes," Roork said.

Broyles, 18, was charged last month in connection with the Immanuel Baptist break-in.

Barr and Christie were each given a $5,000 bond. Barr posted bond Aug. 21.

Roork said Christie hasn't posted bond yet and for good reason. The Army had a retainer placed on Christie for being absent without leave from his Army post in West Virginia. He said in the event that Christie does post bond the military police will pick him up.

Roork said Christie is facing a military court-martial.

Christie is facing an additional theft of property charge after he admitted to stealing a bicycle July 10. The additional charge is a class A misdemeanor.

Barr, Christie and Broyles will be arraigned in Fulton County Circuit Court Sept. 7 by Circuit Court Judge Tim Weaver.

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