Two men arrested on charges of burglarizing church
Prescott Valley police arrested two men early Tuesday morning on charges including burglary after police found broken glass in the back of St. Germaine Catholic Church and announced they would release a K-9 into the building.
At 2:10 a.m., a parishioner called police from the church in the 7900 block of Dana Drive saying he heard noises like someone trying to break into his vehicle in the parking lot.
"The man had been doing his prayers and watching over the church's prayer room that's open 24 hours a day," said Sgt. Brandon Bonney, spokesman for the Prescott Valley Police Department.
When officers arrived, they didn't find anyone near the parishioner's vehicle, but they did find a broken window in the back of the church that led them to believe a burglary was in progress, Bonney said.
Officers thought the suspects were still inside, so they surrounded the church and announced that they were sending in a police K-9, Bonney said. Two men who were hiding under pews inside the church surrendered to police before the K-9 was released into the church, Bonney said.
"The threat of the use of a K-9 led them to surrender," Bonney said. "The officers announced they had a K-9 there, the suspects heard the dog barking, and the officers told them, 'The K-9 will find you.'"
Officers learned that Joshua Taylor, 18, of Battleground, Wash., and Douglas Maurer, 20, of Washington and Prescott Valley, broke into the church and stole money, coins and jewelry, Bonney said. "The suspects originally told officers they needed a place to stay," Bonney said. "But then why damage the church? Especially since many churches would help them find a place to stay."
Officers found kicked-in doors, broken windows, crucifixes and statues, and other damage valued at several thousand dollars, Bonney said, adding, "They even tore apart a file cabinet."
Officers found a safe in a nearby field.
"They couldn't get into it, and they were working on the second safe when the officers found them in the church," Bonney said.
Taylor and Maurer made statements to police about their involvement in the burglary and another burglary at the Windsong apartments.
Officers booked Taylor into the Yavapai County Jail in Camp Verde on charges of burglary, possession of burglary tools, aggravated criminal damage, and failure to register as a sex offender in Yavapai County.
Officers booked Maurer into the county jail on charges of burglary, possession of burglary tools and aggravated criminal damage.