2 men arrested after Champaign church burglarized twice in same night

2 men arrested after Champaign church burglarized twice in same night

URBANA — Two Champaign men were criminally charged Monday with burglary after police determined that they allegedly hit the same church twice in a matter of hours.

Champaign police reports said officers were sent to an alarm about 10:30 p.m. Sunday at New Hope Church of God in Christ, 911 W. Bradley Ave. They found a black bag in the parking lot that had come from inside the church, as well as an open window and footprints in fresh snow in the lot.

A search by church officials and police revealed that two microphones had been stolen and a window in an administrative office was broken.

About three hours later, around 1:20 a.m. Monday, police were sent to a second alarm at the church and found where someone had apparently entered through the same window as in the earlier break-in.

Police found more footprints in fresh snow, two speakers stolen from the sanctuary, and a crack pipe on the floor that had not been there after the first burglary.

Shortly after, police officers found two men walking in the 900 block of West Eureka Street who were leaving footprints similar to what police had observed around the church.

They stopped Melvin Miller, 47, of the 0-100 block of Garwood Street and Derrick Cox, 47, of the 1500 block of Williamsburg Drive, talked to them and eventually arrested both.

In a yard on Eureka near where the men were found, police found a backpack with two microphones taken from the church. The speakers that had been taken were found in another backyard on Beardsley Avenue along the path between the church and where the pair was stopped.

Miller was charged with burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools. The report said police found a flashlight, pocket knife, metal rod and pliers on him.

Cox was arrested on charges of burglary, theft and resisting a peace officer. The report said he struggled and resisted officers who were driving him to jail, thrashing about in the squad car and getting his handcuffed hands from behind him to in front of him during the ride.

Both men face sentencing as Class X felons should they be convicted of the burglary due to lengthy prior criminal records.

Miller's convictions, which date to 1993, include six for drug-related offenses as well as others for aggravated battery, domestic battery, battery and burglary.

Cox, also known as Derrick Randle, had convictions as far back as 1988 for theft, burglary, resisting a peace officer, criminal damage to property, aggravated battery and obstructing justice.

Each man's bond was set at $30,000. Cox is to be back in court Feb. 7 for a probable-cause hearing, and Miller on March 5 for a status call on his case.

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