GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A Greensboro man is in custody and is accused of breaking into churches all across the East Coast, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
On Aug. 7, Rowan County deputies pulled over a car on Interstate 85 and found Mykal David Charter, 21, of Greensboro, and Lamaya McClain, 20, of Greensboro.
After a roadside investigation, deputies discovered that Charter and McClain were wanted out of the Commonwealth of Virginia with full extradition on the following charges:
- Felony breaking and entering a place of worship
- Felony larceny after breaking and entering
Charter and McClain were both taken into custody and detained in the Rowan County Detention Center.
After Charter was pulled over, deputies also found two keyboards that they believe were stolen from churches in the Daytona Beach, Florida area on Aug. 4-5.
“We saw someone casing the building. They walked around the building and then … parked in our back for your entrance area and threw a brick through the window, released the door handle. And it was very interesting because he came straight in,” said Whitman Toland, senior pastor of The Church on 68.
The Church on 68 was one of the several churches Charter is accused of breaking into.
“He came straight in, went straight to the keyboard, walked past the guitars, walked past … several other things, went straight to one keyboard, brought it to the back place where he had come in, came back to get the other keyboard … loaded up and left and was in and out … probably in seven minutes, maybe six at best,” Toland said.
The church’s surveillance video captured the entire incident that happened in May.
Toland saw what he believed to be their stolen keyboards posted on Facebook Marketplace one day after the incident.
“There must be some things going on in your life in order to try to sell things, to make some money, make ends meet,” Toland said. “Our heart would have been, ‘Hey, man, just come and ask if you need something. We’ll help you out with food or whatever.’”
Possibly connected cases
After the pair was taken into custody, the sergeant on patrol reached out to detectives with the RCSO’s Criminal Investigations Division who had been investigating multiple cases of break-ins at area churches where high-end keyboards and musical equipment had been stolen.
The Salisbury Police Department later contacted CID detectives, informing them that Charter was recently arrested for breaking and entering in their jurisdiction. Investigators say that a Nord keyboard was stolen in this break-in as well.
As the investigation continued to progress, multiple agencies throughout several North Carolina counties reached out about similar instances of breaking and entering in their jurisdictions. Agencies in South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia also reached out about similar investigations.
Ultimately, several agencies took out warrants on Charter. At the time he was taken into custody, deputies say that Charter was out on over $200,000 worth of bonds from other counties related to previous church B&Es since May 2023 in the following locations:
- 7 counts of felony breaking and entering into a place of worship
- 8 counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering
- Felony possession of burglary tools
- Damage to property
- Felony larceny
- Possession of stolen goods
- Felony fugitive from justice (Virginia)
Charter received an additional $250,000 secured bond in Rowan County after the new warrants were served.
Deputies say that this was a months-long investigation and a joint effort between law enforcement agencies in North Carolina and several other surrounding states.
Deputies also took to time to thank the cooperation from the victims as well as other good samaritans who assisted with the investigation.
The investigation is still ongoing and further charges are expected.
Anyone with information about these B&Es is asked to call detectives with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 603-7366.