Stolen items returned to church, suspect arrested

Justin Lee Sherell. (Photo Source: Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.)
Justin Lee Sherell. (Photo Source: Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.)

A Biloxi man is facing charges after allegedly burglarizing a church.

Jackson County investigators arrested Justin Lee Sherrell Thursday afternoon just hours after he burglarized a St. Martin Church, Sheriff Charles Britt said today. Sherrell, 27, of Biloxi was arrested at his father's house in Woolmarket, after he attempted to flee by climbing out of a window of a two-story home and tried to jump to the ground. Sheriff Britt says investigators pulled Sherrell from the roof and arrested him.

"The Criminal Investigations Division did an excellent job with this case," Sheriff Britt said. "With persistent field work, the investigators had it solved in less than 24 hours and we've been able to return the property taken back to the church. The entire community should be proud of everyone involved, as I am."

Deputies responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle at around 8 a.m. Thursday behind Lemoyne Baptist Church of Lemoyne Boulevard in St. Martin. There, they discovered a 2012 GMC Terrain stick in the mud that was registered to Sherrell's girlfriend. The church surveillance video and the car stuck in the mud led investigators to identify Sherrell.

A 2006 Econoline Van E-250 was broken into and a 2006 Ford Econoline Van E-350 was missing. Both vehicles belong to the church. The Ford van and items that were taken from inside the church have been returned to the pastor.

Sheriff Britt said Sherrell has been charged on motor vehicle theft, attempted motor vehicle theft, and commercial burglary offenses. Sherrell was on probation when he was arrested Thursday. The state Department of Corrections has placed a hold on him and he remains at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.