N.C. Cops Nab B&E Suspect

David Ezel Simpson

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A North Carolina man wanted for a string of church break-ins in Fairfield County last month was arrested June 6 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. David Ezel Simpson, 63, was arrested at 6:30 a.m. at a home in the 5900 block of Fairmarket Place in Charlotte and is being held at the Mecklenburg County Jail where he faces extradition.

Simpson is wanted in Fairfield County for the May 26 break-ins at Weeping Mary Baptist Church at 7109 Highway 321 N., Winnsboro, and New Independent Methodist Church at 371 Odyssey Drive, Blackstock. Simpson is also a suspect in a break-in and motor vehicle theft at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 2508 Camp Welfare Road, Winnsboro.

A Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputy responding to an alarm call at Weeping Mary in the pre-dawn hours of May 26 spotted Simpson fleeing the church parking lot in a 2002 Kia SUV. After a high-speed chase down Highway 321, Simpson crashed the SUV into a tree on Bull Run Road, kicked out the window on the driver’s side door and continued on foot. In spite of being tased and physically taken to the ground twice by the deputy, Simpson managed to evade capture, running into a nearby wooded area. Fairfield County’s bloodhound unit and a helicopter from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) searched the area for hours, but with no luck.

The Kia was traced back to a Simpson family member, investigators said, and items inside the SUV were identified as those having been stolen from Weeping Mary as well as from New Independent Methodist Church. The stolen goods – a keyboard and other miscellaneous items, worth approximately $1,100 – were returned to the churches.

The New Independent break-in occurred some time between 1 and 3 a.m. on May 26, but was not discovered until later that afternoon. The suspect, believed to be Simpson, cut the wires to the church’s alarm system and forced his way in through the front door.

A third incident also believed to be attributed to Simpson was discovered the following afternoon at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church. A church member there found the church bus missing from the parking lot at 12:04 p.m. on May 27. Investigators found that the church had been broken into through the front door, and that the door to the pastor’s office had also been forced open. The only thing missing were the keys to the bus, which had been kept in a desk drawer inside the pastor’s office. The bus, worth $30,000, was found a short time later parked on the side of the road with its emergency flashers on, approximately 7 miles from the church near Highway 21 N.

Simpson’s bond has been set at $75,000, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokesperson. The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office said Simpson was fighting extradition and it may take several weeks before he faces a Fairfield County judge.