Police arrest man accused of burglarizing church

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STARKE, Fla. - A man confessed to Starke police Tuesday in the burglary of the Regeneration Church at 1003 North Pine St., according to investigators.

Police found James David Petrie, 40, Monday after evidence in the burglary led them to his home.

Police were called to the church Sunday after the church had been ransacked through the worship hall, offices, kitchen, dining rooms and storage rooms.

Police said several items that belonged to the church -- musical instruments, a computer and a silver communion set -- were found to be stolen, and wires were stolen from the electrical system.

After canvasing the residential area in the vicinity of the church, police said they were led to an abandoned house that was being occupied by the person responsible for the burglary.

Police reported they found several items that were stolen from the church. Personal items, which belonged to Petrie, were also located in the house.

Neighbors told police who Petrie was. He was located and questioned Monday, and while he did speak to police, he gave no admission or confession.

Upon interviewing Petrie again Tuesday, police said he confessed to the burglary of the church. Police said he also admitted to knowing the location of missing firearms in another case, which were recovered.

"Proper investigative procedures, perseverance and good interview skills solved our burglary to a church and helped get three firearms off the street from the county case," Capt. Barry Warren said. "I am thankful that the firearms were recovered before they could be used against an innocent citizen."

Petrie is being held at the Bradford County jail.

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