One of three suspects in a series of burglaries that damaged local churches last fall has returned to Campbell County to face charges.
Walter John Meachum III, 19, 154 Lake Mont Lane, Caryville, was transported from Anderson County Jail to Campbell County Jail on Dec. 21.
Meachum had been arrested in Anderson County for attempting to cash a check he had stolen from a church, said Captain Brandon Elkins of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.
After arriving at the Campbell County Jail, Meachum confessed to the break-ins, Elkins said. Meachum now faces charges as the only adult involved in the series of break-ins in the fall.
In October, Meachum and two juveniles were involved in vandalism and burglaries that affected local churches and homes.
“This adult was getting juveniles involved,” Elkins said.
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 allegedly 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.
Meachum will appear in court on Jan. 8. He is being charged with four counts of vandalism, four counts of aggravated burglary, four counts of burglary, two counts of theft of property under $500, eight counts of theft of property $1,000 to $9,999 and violation of probation. He is also facing two charges of auto burglary.
Sheriff Robbie Goins described the crimes as “reckless mischief.”
“This is not a drug involved crime,” Elkins said.