Trio charged with break-ins, thefts from five churches The crimes at chapels in Pennsauken, Maple Shade and Moorestown happened over a three-day period.

Posted: December 12, 2002

PENNSAUKEN — Three men have been arrested and charged in a series of church burglaries that spanned a three-day period, authorities said yesterday.

At least five church burglaries - three in Pennsauken and one each in Maple Shade and Moorestown - have been attributed to the men, said Pennsauken Police Capt. Earl Griffin.

Arrested Monday were William G. Tomlin, 38, and Robert J. Thompson Jr., 22, both of the 500 block of Barrows Avenue in Pennsauken; and Matthew W. Ubil, 27, whose last known address was in Camden, Griffin said.

Police cracked the case after stolen equipment showed up in used-goods stores in Pennsauken and Maple Shade, Griffin said. A laptop computer, a digital camera and a videocamera were among the items recovered and linked to the three suspects, Griffin said.

The church burglaries took place during three days late last month, he said. Pennsauken United Methodist Church, in the 3400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, was the first to report a break-in, on Nov. 21. Thieves removed an air conditioner to gain entry. The office was ransacked, a locked closet was broken into, and several empty cash boxes were taken.

The burglars also grabbed two jars filled with $70 in pennies that had been collected by parish children, Griffin said.

At St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in the 1600 block of Derousse Avenue, the burglars broke a door off its hinges. An organ and a loudspeaker were moved but not taken. The most valuable items stolen: six packs of juice, Griffin said.

The thieves' biggest haul came Nov. 22 from Immanuel Baptist Church on Main Street in Maple Shade. About $5,000 in small electronic equipment was stolen by intruders, who smashed several office doors.

That same day, the First Church of Christ Scientist in the 400 block of Kings Highway in Moorestown reported the theft of a small safe that contained blank checks and church paperwork, Moorestown police said.

On Nov. 23, Calvary Community Baptist Church in Pennsauken reported a break-in. Intruders removed an air conditioner and pried open the windows, then ransacked the pastor's study and three offices. Doors were also kicked in at the church, which is in the 1700 block of Merchantville Avenue. The burglars made off with $35 cash, Griffin said.

Tomlin was charged with burglary, two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft. He was being held on $23,500 bail.

Thompson was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and theft, receiving stolen property, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $31,750.

Ubil was charged with three counts of burglary and theft. Bail was set at $51,500, Griffin said.

All three men were being held last night at the Camden County Jail. The investigation was continuing, Griffin said.

Contact Sam Wood at 856-779-3838 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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