Two Cape residents charged in church burglaries

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Two Cape Girardeau residents were charged Monday with 17 counts of burglary, property destruction and theft in connection with break-ins at five local churches and one law office.

A Scott City suspect was arrested in connection with his alleged involvement with the break-in of the law office.

Daniel Richard Rainey, 19, of 610 Red Bud Circle, and Erich C. Montgomery, 20, of 3002 Aspen Drive, Apt. C., both of Cape Girardeau, were charged with burglary, property damage and theft in the Dec. 16 break-in at Freedom Rock, owned by the Cape First Assembly of God Church; the Dec. 18 burglary of Grace United Methodist Church; the burglary Thursday of Centenary United Methodist Church; the burglary Friday of the Church of the Nazarene and break-in at Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church; and the burglary Saturday at the law office of Kevin Phillips.

Billy Ray Fowler, 31, of 706 Fourth St., Scott City, was charged with one count each of burglary, property damage and theft in connection with the break-in at Phillips' office, Swingle said. He was not charged in any of the church burglaries.

Police were helped in making the arrests, Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said, when one of the items stolen from the lawyer's office turned out to be traceable.

"Once it was traced," he said, "police developed the three people as suspects. Ultimately each one of them admitted participation in the counts they were charged with."

All three are in the Cape Girardeau County Jail. Judge Gary Kamp set bond for Rainey and Montgomery at $35,000 each. Fowler's bond was set at $12,500. All three are scheduled for their first court appearance Thursday.

Swingle said the break-in and property damage charges are all felonies.

All of the churches sustained damage to windows, doors, equipment and furniture. Windows, walls, furniture and electrical equipment were damaged in the law office.

All the thefts except one are misdemeanors, Swingle said. Items taken from Freedom Rock totaled more than $500 in value, making it a felony.

At Grace United Methodist Church and Centenary United Methodist Church, $40 in cash was taken from each. The amount missing from the Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church was $400. Blank checks, a cell phone, clothing and other personal items were stolen from the law office.

Swingle said the number of charges against Rainey and Montgomery is unusual.

"Normally we stop at five or six counts," he said. "Because so many churches were involved, we wanted to make sure we were charging everything possible."

lredeffer@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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