By Jeff Gallatin
A Brunswick man was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to nine months in jail for breaking into St. Barnabas Church in Bay Village last August.
Robert D. Davis, 46, began serving his time immediately after being sentenced by Judge John Russo last week after Davis pleaded guilty to a breaking and entering charge. Bay Village police Detective Jay Elish said Davis focused primarily on northern Ohio churches when looking for potential targets.
“Most of them have been in Lorain County, but he did hit this one in Bay,” Elish said. “He would take advantage of their willingness to help those people they saw as needing help.”
Other cities with churches he victimized included Elyria, North Ridgeville and Lorain, Elish said.
Davis followed a pattern in getting into the different churches, Elish said.
“He would go in seeking help from the church, saying he was having problems and needed assistance in getting himself back together,” Elish said.
While he was inside the church, Elish said Davis would check out the locations of different potential targets in the church and then act on them later.
“He would see where they kept a cash box, money or other valuables which he could take,” Elish said. “He would take note of that, so when he would break into the church later, he could get to them pretty quickly and then get out of there fast.”
Elish said he apparently worked alone.
Davis told police he had a drug habit, which he helped support via money and items taken in the break-ins, Elish said.
“He said that it was a pattern that he would use money and other things he got in the different break-ins to go get his drugs,” Elish said.
A condition of the sentencing was Davis could participate in a drug treatment program at the Lorain Correctional Institution, where he was sent to serve his sentence. He also was ordered to pay $300 in restitution to the church.