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ETX neighbors angered that burglar targeted six houses of worship

Derrick Grayson Bowers (Source: Mt. Pleasant PD) Derrick Grayson Bowers (Source: Mt. Pleasant PD)

An East Texas man was arrested Wednesday in connection with multiple church burglaries.

According to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, 26-year-old Derrick Grayson Bowers, of Mt. Pleasant, was arrested by members of the Mt. Pleasant Criminal Investigation Unit on warrants related to several church burglary locations. After arresting Bowers, investigators were able to link him to other church burglaries in the area as well.

"The burglaries stemmed from February 2013 into March. Suspect made forced entry into the building, just rummaged through the building for cash," says Mount Pleasant police detective Alicia Henderson.

Their investigation kept coming back to 26-year-old Derrick Bowers of Mount Pleasant, who was well-known to police.

"We recovered some physical evidence from one of the burglary scenes, sent it off to a lab and came back with a positive result," says Henderson.

Bowers was ultimately charged with six counts of burglary of a building. The burglaries occurred over a period of two-months at the following places of worship:

  • St. Marks Episcopal Church on February 10
  • South Jefferson Church of Christ on March 10
  • Family Worship Center Building 1 on March 24
  • Family Worship Center Building 2 on March 24
  • Church of Nazarene on March 28
  • Mission Bautista Cristo de Miroca on March 28

Many were sickened to hear that churches were targeted.

"I think its ridiculous. Because most churches are struggling and the one thing I wouldn't want to be guilty of is taking something that belonged to the Lord," says Mount Pleasant churchgoer Donna Norman.

What got Mr. Bowers wasn't security cameras or new technology, it was a technique police have used for a long time: fingerprints. Police say Bowers' prints were found on physical evidence from the burglary scenes.

"It confirmed the identity of Derrick Bowers warrants were issued. He was linked to several other burglaries," Henderson says.  

Police say Bowers then confessed to the burglaries, but why he targeted only churches is still not known.

Derrick Bowers remains in the Titus county jail, no bond has been set.

Mt. Pleasant PD has been investigating since the first church burglary occurred in February. Investigators were able to link the cases together based upon how each church was broken into. In each case, the suspect forcibly entered into the church, damaged the building, and rummaged through offices taking money. Evidence recovered after the burglaries led authorities to a suspect.

Bowers was taken to the Titus County Jail and his bond was still pending as of Thursday morning.

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