By Joe Johnson
A Banks County man was arrested this week for allegedly damaging a coffin inside an Athens church last month.
William Parker Baldwin, 25, of Timberlane Street in Homer was charged with felony vandalism to a place of worship, felony second-degree burglary, and the misdemeanor offenses of criminal trespass/damage to property and loitering or prowling[JJ1] .
Athens-Clarke County police investigated the alleged vandalism on Aug. 15 at Victory Chapel on Olympic Drive, where a witness saw Baldwin pulling on the handles of vehicles parked in the area.
Police said the witness confronted Baldwin after seeing him pull on the handle of a Cadillac that belonged to the church.
The suspect looked at A casket loaned to a church as a model display was vandalized recently, possibly by a heavy-set, shirtless man from Banks County.
Athens-Clarke police investigated the vandalism Aug. 15 at Victory Chapel on Olympic Drive, where a Bogart man observed the suspect pulling on the handles of vehicles parked in the area.
Police said the witness watched as the white male, who was wearing glasses, pulled on the handle of a Cadillac that belongs to the church, so he confronted the offender.
The suspect looked at the witness, smiled and then drove away in a car, according to police.
When an employee of a funeral home arrived, he found that a model coffin that his business had loaned to the church had been damaged.
The coffin, valued at $436, had cloth, pillows and inside dressing pulled from the casket and thrown across a church hallway, police said.
Police said they determined the person responsible for the damage had entered the church through an unlocked side door.
Baldwin was identified as the suspect because the church’s video surveillance system recorded images of Baldwin and his car and vehicle tag number, police said.
He was arrested on warrants Monday night and as of Friday was being held at the Clarke County Jail, where the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office placed a hold on Baldwin’s release due to a damage to property charge in that county.