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Church burglarized, suspect returns for bike


COW CREEK – A Magoffin County church was burglarized Thursday night, with one of the suspects arrested when he came back to get his bicycle.

On Friday, August 28, Cow Creek Church of God Pastor Arbadella Reed received a phone call from someone who had heard her church had been broken into. She and her son, Cory Cravens, went up to the church, finding it in disarray, but very little missing.

“The back door had been pried open, kicked in or whatever,” Reed said. “The refrigerator door was open, and the microwave door was open. The chairs were kicked over and there were CDs laying on the back porch and I guess the worst part is when we went in and seen the pulpit. Just about everything up there was destroyed – the PA system, mics and everything. The bathroom lights were on, heaters were on. We got to looking around and we come up the hill and a bicycle was laying down on the side of the road, with one of the heaters and part of the PA system was there beside the road.”

While Reed was visibly upset about what had happened to the place of worship, she was more concerned about the people responsible for the break-in.

“It’s just sad,” Reed said. “Most of the time we had helped all these people, but to me this is just what drugs do. What’s it going to prove to take them to jail? How’s it going to help them? It’s going to be another case somewhere else. A death – so many people are dying from overdoses and all this new drug that’s been shipped in here. This is all because of a drug. It was somebody that was out of their mind to do something like this.”

Despite the mess, the only thing that was taken from the church was a guitar. 

“They started with other things, but they couldn’t carry and it’s sad that he came to the church on a bicycle,” Reed said.

While the Magoffin County Sheriff Department was investigating the break-in, looking at the bicycle left behind and the items strung along church’s driveway, one of the suspects came walking up the hill.

“He was still high and talking a mile a minute,” Reed said. “So, they put him in the vehicle and are going to book him.”

Deputy Jonathan Holbrook wrote in the police report that he was taking pictures of items that were scattered down the driveway to the church and Curtis S. James, 37, of Salyersville, walked up, picked up a can of pop and was around the bicycle that allegedly was used in the burglary.

“He hunkered down, trying to hide from me, and then threw the pop can down,” Holbrook described in the arrest citation.

James reportedly failed a field sobriety test on site, and a witness gave a statement that James was seen carrying items belonging to the witness, valued at over $500. He was placed under arrest and searched, at which time officials found a clear bag containing Xanax and Gabapentin in his wallet.

James was taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where he remains at press time, charged with tampering with physical evidence, public intoxication – controlled substance (excludes alcohol), receiving stolen property under $10,000, two counts of third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and buying or possessing drug paraphernalia. 

“It doesn’t make sense,” Reed said. “They just wrecked the place like they were looking for nothing and didn’t know what they were doing, really. This has happened to other people and other homes.”

She confirmed that another person was involved in the burglary, leaving behind his shirt on a bush near the church.

“It’s sad,” Reed said, slightly choked up. “Cory and I picked up garbage for six hours yesterday. Twenty-eight bags of garbage, we picked up, just to have money during the winter months because we’re a small church and most people we have are elderly.”

They participated in the PRIDE grant program, where nonprofit organizations can pick up trash in their communities in order to receive grant money.

“Anybody sane would not do what was done here,” Reed said. “We’ve had stuff stolen here years ago. They would come in here and take an air conditioner or something, but never destroyed nothing. They’ve shot in the church three or four times back years ago. We have struggled, but this is just a minor thing. It could be worse.”

Reed said she just hopes they get the help they need.
“I pray that the ones that did it get help because apparently they need help. I really feel sorry for them, I really do,” Reed said. “Where do we start? All we can do is pray. I’ll still pray for them.”

She said she delivered food to at least one of the suspects the prior week. 

“But that’s okay,” Reed said. “That’s our jobs as pastors, ministers and lay people, to help the people, and I will continue to help.”

Editor's Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Heather Oney

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