Two Charged in Church Burglary

Morgan Dean Murphy

RIDGEWAY – Two Ridgeway men were arrested last week and charged with a March 24 break-in of Sawney’s Creek Baptist Church at 14605 Highway 34 E. in Ridgeway.

According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, 17-year-old Morgan Dean Murphy, of 289 Murphy Trail in Ridgeway, and 19-year-old Cameron James Wells, of 1150 Centerville Road in Ridgeway, were charged with second-degree burglary. Murphy was arrested March 26 and Wells on March 27.

On March 24, Sheriff’s deputies responded to Sawney’s Creek Baptist at 9 p.m. after a church trustee discovered a 32-inch RCA flat-screen television worth $287 and a set of speakers worth $50 missing from the church’s children’s room. The next day, deputies received information leading investigators to question Wells about the break-in. According to the incident report, Wells told investigators that Murphy had “made (Wells) walk with him” to the church. While Wells waited in the parking lot, Murphy reportedly climbed through an unlocked window. Murphy then exited the church with a flat-screen television through a door. Wells told investigators that Murphy made him carry the television back to Murphy’s house. Wells also said Murphy had another television at his house that Murphy had stolen from the same church in February.

When officers arrived at Murphy’s home to execute a search warrant just before 5 p.m. on March 26, they spotted Murphy coming toward the home out of the nearby woods and placed him under arrest. Officers located the stolen speakers inside Murphy’s home and the RCA flat-screen television in the woods behind the home. According to the incident report, officers also learned that the Sylvania flat-screen television stolen in February had been sold at a pawn shop in Lugoff. Wells turned himself in to deputies the following morning.

“My office treats all crimes as serious, but crimes against churches are particularly senseless,” Fairfield County Sheriff Herman Young said. “I’m glad we were able to make two arrests and recover the stolen items for the church.”