DeKalb County Alabama officials say that they have arrested Ethan Nathaniel Heaton, 18, of Crossville, he was arrested in relation to a number of church burglaries that have occurred across DeKalb County since early November. The burglaries, which were reported throughout November and December up until the morning of December 17th , primarily involved theft of music and sound equipment which has been valued at approximately $20,000. Information obtained in burglary reports stated that the suspect drove a white Ford Mustang.
Sheriff’s Office investigation led to pawn shops in our area, one of which had obtained a copy of Heaton’s identification when he sold sound equipment there and reported that he was driving a white Ford Mustang.
Once the suspect was identified, `be on the lookout` information was disseminated to Sheriff’s deputies, investigators, Task Force agents, and local police departments, particularly those on the south end of DeKalb County. On the afternoon of December 17th , Crossville Police Department Officers Jacky Clayton and Brian Slaton spotted the vehicle with the subject inside and pulled him over on Highway 227. Sheriff’s Office investigators made contact and after an interview with the suspect, he was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail.
The churches from which items were actually stolen were: New Home Church (Kilpatrick), Mt. Pleasant Church (Grove Oak), Union Grove Baptist Church (Crossville), Calvary Baptist Church (Fyffe), and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church (Crossville).
The items stolen included speakers, amplifiers, other sound equipment, guitars, stereos, a camcorder, a computer, other assorted electronics items, as well as sports equipment and a small amount of cash. Other churches that were broken into but from which no items were stolen include: Highway Church of God (Fyffe), Liberty Church (Crossville), Tenbroek Baptist Church, and Providence Missionary Baptist Church (Collinsville).
Heaton remains in jail at this time under a Sixty thousand dollar bond. He has been charged with the Burglary of six churches at this time with other charges to be considered by the Dekalb County Grand Jury.
`This arrest was made possible through a joint effort of several agencies, including Crossville, Geraldine, and Fyffe Police Departments, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Task Force. We’ve had a lot of people putting a lot of work into getting to the bottom of these burglaries, and we are glad to have a suspect in custody. This case was closed due to good old-fashioned police work. We hope we won’t see any more of these church burglaries, not only here during the holidays but in the future as well.”
Most of the items stolen have been recovered and are being processed and returned to their respective owners. Investigation into the burglaries will continue.