Church vandal goes to prison

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The lone adult member of a trio that vandalized Campbell County churches last fall has been sentenced to prison.

On Monday, Walter John Meachum plead guilty to four counts of burglary, one count of attempted burglary, two counts of theft over $1,000, one count of desecrating a venerated object, three counts of aggravated burglary, one count of vandalism over $1,000 and two counts of auto burglary.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and assessed court costs along with restitution and other fines.

Late last year, Meachum confessed to the break-ins, according to Campbell County Sheriff’s Capt. Brandon Elkins said.

In October, Meachum and two juveniles were involved in vandalisms and burglaries that affected local churches and homes.

“This adult was getting juveniles involved,” Elkins said at the time.

Meachum allegedly joined with a 17- year- old and a 14- year- old in vandalizing Glade Springs Baptist Church on Oct. 28. The trio allegedly entered by forcing a window open, Elkins said. They allegedly used a fire extinguisher to spray the floor, pews and walls and attempted to pry open the church’s safe, Elkins said.

The vandalism caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, Elkins said. The church wasn’t able to hold service until repairs were made, reports said.

Meachum and the 17 –year- old accomplice were also charged with two home burglaries. One allegedly occurred on Victory Road, where the pair allegedly stole over $4,000 worth of items, according to CCSD records.

At a Caryville home, Meachum and the 17- year- old allegedly stole over $1,000 in personal property.

While most cases involving theft are drug fueled, this one wasn’t.

“This was a sad case of reckless mischief,” said Sheriff Robbie Goins.