By Scott Gustin, WGHP, Reporting
THOMASVILLE, North Carolina — Two suspects have been charged in connection with allegedly attempting to burn down a church in Thomasville.
On Monday, police responded to two churches on Jewel Street that were vandalized late Sunday.
According to police, vandals entered the building and trashed church offices, emptied paint cans on the carpets and set various small fires using charcoal briquettes.
Police said during the crime spree, the suspects “defecated and urinated inside the church.”
When reporter Mitch Carr and Photojournalist Mike Durenberger returned to the scene on Monday afternoon, they both smelled gasoline and smoke coming from the building. Carr and Durenberger then spotted two teenagers, one carrying a lighter, running from the rear of the building.
Carr chased the fleeing suspects as Durenberger called for police and the fire department (video of chase at bottom of story).
Police later located two suspects in a house at the corner of Jewel Street and Guilford Street.
Christopher Todd Ledbetter, 17, of Wright Rd., was charged with two counts of breaking and entering a place of worship, one count of larceny and two counts of felonious burning of churches and other religious buildings. Ledbetter had outstanding warrants on other charges.
He was placed in the Davidson County Jail under a $210,000 bond.
A 15-year-old juvenile faces similar charges in connection the incident. He was taken to the Forsyth County Juvenile Detention Facility. Additional charges are pending.
The fire department responded to the church and was able to put the fire at the church before it caused any additional damage.