Arrests Made in Church Burglaries and Fires

Contact: John S. Robison, State Fire Marshal


Two subjects have been captured and face eighteen charges each relating to the burglary of eight churches and one restaurant, and the setting of fires in two churches in Chilton County.  The two 18 year olds, Matthew Allen Mims and Kenneth Cory Presley, both of Clanton are currently being held in the Chilton County Jail.

Three churches, Sunshine Assembly of God, Pinedale Assembly of God and Mt. Bethel Church were broken into the morning of July 1st and property was taken.  Sunshine Assembly of God was also set on fire.

Investigators with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office began the investigations of the three church burglaries and the church arson Tuesday July 1st and worked through the night providing extra patrols on area churches and maintaining surveillance on several churches.

Around 6:00 AM Sunday July 6th, the burglars were discovered inside Lime Springs Church.  The suspects escaped, however sheriff’s deputies discovered their abandoned wrecked vehicle and property stolen from churches on a dirt road.  Dogs from the Alabama Department of Corrections facility in Bibb County were called in and tracked the suspects until they were captured around 9:00 AM Sunday.

Investigators have since learned that Collins Chapel Baptist Church, Mt. Zion Church, Mountain Springs Church, Robinson Springs Church, Lime Springs Church and Cow Pasture Restaurant were broken into by these suspects the morning of July 6th.  Lime Springs Church had also been set on fire.

Each suspect faces eight counts of Burglary Third, two counts of Arson Second, five counts of Theft of Property First, one count of Criminal Mischief First and two counts of Criminal Mischief Third.

The investigation by the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office continues.