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HESPERIA — San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 46-year-old Hesperia man on suspicion of breaking into his own church and stealing more than $5,000 worth of equipment.
Sheriff’s officials said Michael Kelly, 46, was arrested in the 10000 block of Portland Avenue just after 9:15 a.m. Monday, on suspicion of burglarizing a church where he served as an usher.
Authorities said the arrest was the result of an extensive investigation that began when New Life Chapel, in the 10000 block of Seventh Avenue, was burglarized on June 24. Sheriff’s officials said responding deputies retrieved surveillance video which showed a white male adult forcing entry into several rooms of the church.
The suspect took numerous items from the church, including an estimated $5,000 in equipment and tools, sheriff’s officials said. Members of the congregation saw the surveillance video and recognized the suspect as fellow parishioner and church usher Kelly, authorities said.
Sheriff’s officials said that after Kelly was identified, investigators secured a search warrant for the suspect’s residence located in the 8600 block of C Avenue. During the execution of the search warrant, sheriff’s officials said approximately $3,000 to $4,000 worth of identifiable property was located on the front porch and inside the home.
Authorities reported detectives also located a set of keys with access to additional rooms on the church campus. Evidence was seized including illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. A warrant was then issued for Kelly’s arrest.
Sheriff’s officials said Kelly has been booked at the High Desert Detention Center on suspicion of burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen property. He is being held on $250,000 bail. Additional charges may be pending. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Victorville on Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone with information regarding these crimes is asked to call Detective Paul Bader at the Hesperia Station, 760-947-1500. Citizens are encouraged to contact the Sheriff's Department or WeTip at 800-87-CRIME, www.wetip.com to report suspicious or criminal activity and can remain anonymous.