The suspect, identified by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office as Derek Porter, was attempting to steal from the Emerald Beach Church of God in Panama City Beach when he stopped to baptize himself, according to officials.
Shortly before, Porter had used a cinderblock to smash a window at the church and gain entry on Friday morning. A woman working in the church heard the sound and fled, deputies said.
“While inside, Porter caused approximately $8,000 worth of damage to the church. Porter then loaded several electronics including a television and a computer into his truck along with the church’s money bag,” deputies wrote.
Deputies and officers with the Panama City Beach Police Department descended on the church and arrested Porter. They say he was found meth and drug paraphernalia.
Upon his arrest, Porter had informed them of his activities at the baptismal, officials added.
“Porter stated he could not remember what happened during various moments inside the church. He did remember, however, baptizing himself in the church’s baptistry pool,” deputies wrote. “Porter claims ‘something’ was holding his head down under the water while in the pool.”
Porter wasn’t the only one who used the baptistry Friday. Body camera footage released by the sheriff’s office shows deputies making contact with Porter and clearing the church. While inside, a BCSO K-9 working with the sheriff’s office decided to “beat the heat and cool off in the baptismal,” deputies wrote.
Porter, who was already out on bond for burglary in Georgia, is now charged with burglary of an occupied structure, criminal mischief, possession of meth, and possession of drug paraphernalia.