A Nichols Hills man is believed responsible for a rash of church burglaries, including the January break-in at Johnson Road Baptist Church.
Sterling C. Morris, 35, is charged in McClain County District Court with second degree burglary, injuring a church or contents and pattern of criminal offenses.
An arrest warrant is outstanding.
According to an affidavit, the church was ransacked and burglarized on January 15.
Stolen were musical and sound equipment, electronics, kitchenware, computers, DVR recording system and cameras, and tools.
The McClain County Sheriff’s Department located some of the stolen items along I-35 northbound near mile marker 100.
Police used LeadsOnline, a web-based tool for law enforcement, and located three speakers, a sound board and Black & Decker hedge trimmers which Morris reportedly pawned in Norman on January 20.
Serial numbers had been removed from the speakers and soundboard.
Then on January 27, police were contacted by the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department about a church burglary suspect they had just caught following a pursuit in which he wrecked the vehicle he was driving.
When the undersheriff confirmed the suspect in custody was Morris, police attempted to interview him. But he refused to answer their questions, according to the affidavit.
Police contacted Morris’ father who said his son was driving the older man’s pickup in Garvin County.
He also said Morris didn’t live with him, but was storing property at the father’s place in Oklahoma City.
The son had placed a digital lock on the garage and the father didn’t have access to it. Additional items were stored in a bedroom and in the back yard, according to the affidavit.
Police executed a search warrant at the father’s residence, recovering an “immense amount of property” believed stolen from area churches.
The churches include Johnson Road Baptist Church, Go Church in Norman, New Hope Church in Oklahoma City, First Baptist Church in Mustang, Tri-City Worship Center in Newcastle, Vamoosa Baptist Church in Konawa, First Baptist Church in Minco, Bethany Church in Bethany, and St. John’s Nepomuk Church and Vision Church, both in Yukon.
Investigating agencies in addition to Purcell Police Department include police departments in Norman, Oklahoma City, Mustang, Newcastle, Minco, Bethany and Yukon, as well as the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department.