Two people were charged in connection with eight church break-ins in the city of Morganton, with more charges expected.
Ryan Chrishan Johnson, 33, and Isiah Rashon Ervin, 22, were charged Wednesday with eight counts each of felony breaking and entering a place of worship and three counts each of felony breaking and entering, said Inv. Donny Dellinger with the Morganton Department of Public Safety.
The charges came after churches and businesses across the city were broken into over the past 45 days, Dellinger said. Typically the suspects would smash their way into the businesses or churches and take cash or some electronics.
Some safes also were stolen and were found on the greenway, Dellinger said.
Ervin admitted to reporters Wednesday that he was involved with the church break-ins. He said he needed money.
“I’m sorry I did it and I apologize,” Ervin said.
His brother said he wasn’t involved.
“I don’t know what church break-ins y’all are speaking about,” Johnson said. “I didn’t do anything.”
He said he was in custody for a parole violation, but investigators confirmed the charges against him.
It wasn’t just churches in the city of Morganton that were hit in the break-ins. Sheriff Steve Whisenant said there were seven church break-ins.
Whisenant said the Burke County Sheriff’s Office will be charging the brothers on a warrant for a break-in at Oak Hill Methodist Church, and will seek indictments on the six other break-ins.
Johnson has multiple previous convictions dating as far back as 2002 for felony breaking and entering, possessing stolen goods, robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a schedule II controlled substance and habitual breaking and entering, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.
Ervin was issued a bond of $55,000 and Johnson was issued a bond of $110,000. They have court appearances set for Friday, according to the magistrate’s office.