Police capture suspect in burglary of 2 churches and non-profit

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JENNINGS, MO (KPLR) - A suspect faces stealing and burglary charges after police say he broke into two churches and a non-profit in Jennings on Wednesday morning.

According to Jennings Police Commander Lt. Jeff Fuesting, 35 year-old Joseph Johnson broke into a building on the 6600 block of West Florissant.

He entered through a window and landed in the Tabernacle Congregation of God.  According to the church’s pastor, the thief snatched speakers, monitors, microphones, and a drum set.

Police say he then headed upstairs, and burglarized the Greater Works Church, as well as the non-profit North County Community Development.

“They took two of our cordless phones, some school supplies, some clothing that we had,” says Yolanda Austin, the non-profit’s operations director.

Meanwhile, a patrolman hot-spot policing the neighborhood was driving down the alley behind this building, when he saw a man covered in drywall dust and sweat.

Fuesting says, “He was in possession of two bags that contained the stolen property from the churches.”

It was Austin’s stolen phone that led to more contraband.  She explains, “The police officer dialed our phone number and he heard it ringing in the garage out the driveway.  That’s where he was storing the majority of the things.”

Police are still searching for the remainder of the stolen goods, and are investigating Johnson’s involvement in a burglary on the same property that happened just last week.

Meanwhile, Austin says these crimes make her mission in this neighborhood even stronger: “Whoever would steal from a church and a non-profit, there are some things going on with him which he needs help with. Which are some of the things that we refer people to.  And that’s why our doors are open.”

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