MANSFIELD -- A 35-year-old Mansfield man was arrested Sunday morning for allegedly breaking into, ransacking and robbing Grace Episcopal Church, 41 Bowman St., according to Mansfield police reports.
The suspect, Daniel Adkins, was apprehended nearby when officers saw him getting into a vehicle that had a computer tower reportedly stolen from the church, which is not conducting services due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Adkins is listed as transient in Mansfield Municipal Court records and has a criminal history dating back to 2002. He was arrested on other unrelated charges and booked into the Richland County Jail.
A second suspect, James Leppo, 34, remains at large. He also has a criminal record dating back to 2005.
Mansfield police responded to the church at 8:15 a.m. and met with its pastor. Adkins allegedly cut the wire to one of the church's security cameras, though footage from other cameras showed him carrying stolen items and wandering around the property.
According to the police report, the suspects sprayed a fire extinguisher throughout most of the building, broke several pieces of furniture and stole various items.
Officers checked the building and found an east-facing window in the church nursery that the suspects had apparently used to enter the building. During a search of the building, officers found several stolen items that were shoved through a window into a basement window well attached to the church's food pantry.
Officers found that even though the suspects placed items on the other side of the window, they could not take the items further due to a steel grate that covered the window well.
As the officers were investigating, a nearby homeowner on West Third Street reported he had found possible stolen items behind their residence. Officers responded and found several items stolen from the church, placed in a dumpster and trash can behind the residence.
The homeowner advised he had video footage of both suspects carrying stolen property.
Another officer then saw Adkins getting into the car in the area and made the arrest without incident. The owner of the car said Adkins had contacted him and asked for a ride.
All of the stolen property was returned to the church, police said.