Two Virginia teenagers are in the Effingham County Jail after an overnight crime spree that involved two churches.
Around 4:45 a.m. Thursday, Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Countryside Baptist Church on Highway 30 on the report of a suspicious vehicle. Once there, deputies found a car that had been reported stolen out of Virginia.
While deputies continued to investigate, two males fled from the church and led deputies on a foot pursuit.
The suspects, later identified as Kyle Cundriff, 18, of and Richard West, 17, both of Chesapeake, Va., were arrested. West was taken into custody not far from the church by deputies and was subdued with a taser after a struggle with sheriff’s deputies. Cundriff was taken into custody after being tracked by Savannah Chatham Metro Police K-9 Officer Laika and her handler, APO Chris Amedee, along with deputies. Cundriff received minor injuries after fighting with the police dog and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
It was later discovered the two suspects also burglarized and vandalized the Living Faith Church of God and the Berea Methodist Church, both on Highway 30. The suspects caused thousands of dollars in damage to the Living Faith Church. The church sustained extensive damage after it was ransacked and the suspects discharged a shotgun inside.
Cundriff and West also are said to have defecated in the sanctuary of one of the churches.
“We take all property crimes seriously,” Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said. “But we are disgusted with such crimes against houses of worship.”
It was also later determined by Rincon Police investigators that Cundriff and West were responsible for an overnight burglary that took place at the BP convenience store on Highway 21 in Rincon.
Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies are currently working with the Rincon Police Department to establish if Cundriff and West are responsible for any additional crimes.
Effingham County investigators have charged West with three counts of burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, three counts of vandalism to a place of worship, and three counts of criminal damage to property.
West also faces additional charges of burglary and theft by taking by Rincon Police Investigators.
Effingham County investigators have charged Cundriff with three counts of burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, three counts of vandalism to a place of worship, and three counts of criminal damage to property. Rincon Police also have charged Cundriff with party to a crime.
Additionally, Cundriff and West are being charged with two counts of burglary and one count of bringing stolen property into the state. Sheriff's investigators allege the duo was responsible for at least two other residential burglaries in the county. Deputies recovered three firearms that were stolen from one of the residences and a church.
Both subjects are currently being held in the Effingham County Jail.