News Flash

2023 - Sheriff - News

Posted on: May 31, 2023


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MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced two 12-year-old boys were charged with felonies following the burglary and vandalism of a church and two homes earlier this month. 

The boys were each charged with the following delinquent charges:

• Two counts of aggravated burglary 

• One count of vandalism $60,000 - $250,000 

• One count of vandalism under $2,500

• One count of vandalism under $1,000 

The boys, who deputies charged on May 23, made their initial appearance in Blount County Juvenile Court on May 25. One boy was released into the custody of his mother. The other boy was held an additional week due to his behavior during court. 

Sheriff’s deputies responded to Smyrna Baptist Church on Howard School Road on May 13 to the call of a burglary and vandalism of the church. Deputies found major damage inside the church, including chairs and pews overturned, broken windows, food items thrown on the floor and walls, damaged Bibles and books, a piano and organ that were destroyed, a flooded bathroom, and carpet that was destroyed by foam from a fire extinguisher. The damage to the church is estimated at $200,000. The case was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office Investigations unit. During their inquiry into the case, forensic and other evidence led investigators to the two boys as suspects, one of whom lives near the church. After speaking with boys and their guardians, the boys confessed to burglarizing and vandalizing the church, as well as two nearby homes between May 13 and May 20. 

In addition to the arrests in the Smyrna Baptist Church incident, on May 20th investigators also cited four juvenile boys, ages 15 to 17 years old, in the February 2023 burglary and vandalism of the Friends Church in Friendsville. Investigators cited the boys with burglary and vandalism after they vandalized the church’s pavilion and broke into the kitchen and set off a fire extinguisher and broke ceiling fans and a microwave oven, among other damages.

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