4 charged with breaking into Lincoln County churches

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Jesse Lankford (left) and Joshua Ayers (right). Source: Lincoln County Sheriff's Office

Four people have been charged, two of which are in custody, with breaking into several Lincoln County churches, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies say the break-ins were reported at Howard's Creek Baptist Church, Long shoals Wesleyan Church and Trinity Second Chance Church.

Fingerprints were located that led to a suspect in the break-in at Webb's Chapel Church in Gaston County, deputies said. The suspect, who was not named, was interviewed and that led to the identity of the suspects in the Lincoln County break-ins.

The sheriff's office has charged Jesse Lee Lankford, 18, Joshua Cody Ayers, 16, Kathrine Stewart Norrick, 26, all of Cherryville, NC and Jonathan Tyler Beavers, 21 of Bessemer City, NC.

Deputies arrested Lankford on Friday. He is being held in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under $20,000 bond.

Ayers remains in the Gaston County Jail on unrelated charges.

Authorities are still looking for Norrick and Beavers.

A suspect in the case also confessed to breaking into and stealing from two other churches on December 4, but no reports have been filed with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, deputies said.