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Police: Johnson City burglar surprised by couple staying in church

February 10th, 2014 10:55 am by Becky Campbell

Police: Johnson City burglar surprised by couple staying in church

David J. Bell

Two people staying at a local church thwarted a burglary early Monday morning after they heard glass breaking and went to investigate.

The couple, Richard and Malinda Measner, confronted the man exiting a room in the basement of Grandview Christian Church. When he saw them, he ran to the front door to leave with the Measners on his heels. They also called 911 for police to come.

When officers arrived, they saw David J. Bell, 53, 602 University Pkwy., Apt 5, and one of the witnesses walking away from the building. Police detained both, then determined Bell was the suspect.

According to police, Bell had a backpack with a pry bar, wire cutters and a multi-tool hammer, as well as garage door opener, several DVDs and other items — evidence they say was the proceeds from other burglaries. Police searched the building and learned that the rear window of the church had been broken.

After Bell was taken to jail, police searched the area of the burglaries and found the address, 310 University Pkwy., where the garage door opener belonged. They saw pry marks to the side door of the garage and spoke with the homeowner, who described missing items that Bell had when he was arrested.

Bell was charged with two counts of aggravated burglary and possession of burglary tools. He was held in the Washington County Detention Center on $41,000 pending a Sessions Court appearance later Monday.

Earlier report posted at 10:35 a.m.:

Johnson City police say they caught a man with burglary tools and stolen items after he broke into a church and a house in his own neighborhood early Monday morning.

David J. Bell, 53, 602 University Pkwy., Apt 5, was arrested after the incident about 12:15 a.m. at Grandview Christian Church, 300 University Pkwy., where a person staying in the church had confronted the burglar and called 911, police said.

Police spotted Bell leaving the area on foot and stopped him. He had a backpack with a pry bar, wire cutters and a multitool hammer, as well as garage door opener, several DVDs and other items. Police searched the building and learned that the rear window of the church had been broken.

After Bell was taken to jail, police searched the area of the burglaries and found the address, 310 University Pkwy., where the garage door opener belonged. They saw pry marks to the side door of the garage and spoke with the homeowner, who described missing items that Bell had when he was arrested.

Bell was charged with two counts of aggravated burglary and possession of burglary tools. He was held in the Washington County Detention Center on $41,000 pending a Sessions Court appearance later Monday.

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