Deputies: Suspect in Dorchester County church theft turns self in

Thief steals money, electronics from Dorchester County church

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester County deputies say the suspect in the Monday night theft of cash and electronics from a church turned himself in Thursday night.

Freddie Lee Wiggins, 46, faces a charge of burglary second degree in connection with the burglary of Faith In Action Deliverance Ministries on Ashley Phosphate Road, deputies say.

According to investigators, Wiggins said he turned himself in after seeing his mugshot on Live 5 News Thursday evening. Church officials say they recognized Wiggins in surveillance video of the break-in and say he is a member of the church.

A judge set bond at $75,000 on the burglary charge, court records show.

Pastor reacts to break-in

"You have to be a sick individual to break into a church at Christmastime," senior Pastor Coleen Cuffy said on Wednesday.

Deputies say the thief threw a large rock through the front glass door to get inside.

"And the boulder just sat and fell right by the Christmas tree of the church and all we saw was shattered glass," Cuffy said.

Once inside, the thief went straight for the church sanctuary.

"Parts of the ceiling ripped off, our altar was ripped, curtains were ripped," Cuffy explained.

The suspect took a flat screen television off the wall, and also grabbed a keyboard that was bought just two weeks ago. He also tried to take another television, one Cuffy said was used for praise and worship to enable to congregation to see the lyrics of the songs, but dropped and broke it.

Cuffy says the thief then went into the children's church and took yet another television. But the biggest blow was felt when the thief broke into the church office and grabbed a giant water bottle holding money for the church's building fund. Cuffy says a similar bottle was stolen from the church earlier this year.

"And they took that last time so this time we put it in the offices and hid it thinking it would be safer. But no, they took that as well," Cuffy said.

The pastor says her congregation will forgive the thief but still want him punished.

"From our hearts we forgive you and we pray for you," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.

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