Man charged after break-in at church

Man charged after break-in at church

URBANA — A Champaign man has been charged with burglary in connection with a break-in at an Urbana church early Wednesday.

Urbana police Lt. Bryant Seraphin said James Kmoch, 47, who listed addresses in the 2900 block of Springhill Lane and the 2400 block of West Springfield Avenue, was charged with Wednesday's burglary to the Wesley United Methodist Church, 1203 W. Green St., U, as well as another that happened there on May 24.

Seraphin said the church had been entered unlawfully at least three times in the last couple of months.

Seraphin said employees had noticed on more than one occasion that things had been moved around in the church after it was closed.

Last Thursday, they reported that sometime between July 8 and 11, someone entered the church when it was closed and damaged a lock and an appliance, possibly with a screwdriver or pry bar. Then on Monday, they reported that sometime between 8:30 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday, someone entered and stole meat from a freezer.

Seraphin said police reviewed with church officials ways to beef up security, including making sure the sanctuary is locked at night.

Then, early Wednesday morning, a guard working for Signal 88 Security, a firm hired by the church, called police.

“They ended up hiring a private security guard. On his first night there, he discovers James Kmoch inside the church at 1:30 a.m. after everything had already been locked,” Seraphin said. “It appeared he entered through a window. We arrested him for being inside. While searching his backpack, we found fingernail files and thin metal rods with hooks on the end.”

Frank Pfeiffer, regional manager for Signal 88 Security in Champaign County, said his employee, Dakota Morfey, found Kmoch in the church and took him out to Urbana police, who arrested him.

Burglary is normally a Class 2 felony but burglary to a place of worship, day care center or school makes it a more serious Class 1 felony with penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years in prison.

Champaign County court records show Kmoch has several prior convictions for burglary, criminal trespass to land and property, attempted burglary, battery and criminal trespass to vehicle.

Judge Richard Klaus set his bond at $25,000 and told Kmoch to be back in court Sept. 10.

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