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Martinsburg man faces charges in church break-in

May 27, 2008

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Police say a 20-year-old Martinsburg man and his 17-year-old girlfriend broke into a Berkeley County church early Monday and caused extensive damage, urinated on a Bible and stole more than $10,000 worth of church property, according to a news release from West Virginia State Police.

Dalton Fred Banker, of 8278 Tuscarora Pike, was charged with offenses that include burglary, grand larceny and felony destruction of property after the church's van turned up on his girlfriend's front lawn Monday morning, police said.

Police responded to a report of a burglary at Johnsontown Bible Church at about 7:30 a.m. and found broken windows, broken desks and a Bible in the front of the church sanctuary that appeared to have been urinated on, police said.

During the course of the investigation, police received a call from the female suspect's father, who told them the van had been stuck in his lawn at about 3 a.m.

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His daughter told police she and her boyfriend decided to break into the church to steal property, police said.

Troopers recovered a 1992 Ford Club Wagon 15-passenger van as well as several laptop computers, several desktop computers and monitors, and a Sony video projector, police said.

Banker was arrested at about 10:30 a.m. at French's store on Hedgesville Road, police said.

He was being held Monday night on $105,000 bond, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Harry Snow.

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