North Knoxville church break-in suspect identified, warrants issued

Berea Baptist church gets vandalized for the second time in just a few months
Berea Baptist church gets vandalized for the second time in just a few months.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 4:02 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Berea Baptist is a small community church in North Knoxville that’s now dealing with the impact of being vandalized for a second time in just a few months.

Just over a week ago, a suspect was caught on security cameras breaking into the church at around 6:30 a.m. First attempting to open the front doors unsuccessfully. So this suspect came back with a hard, metallic cup and threw it at the glass in attempt to break it, which was also unsuccessful.

“When that didn’t work he ran around the building and used it to beat the glass out of one of the basement doors, reached in, opened the door then came in the building,” said pastor Michael Napier.

Security camera footage then shows an eerie sight of this suspect walking through the hallways of the church for more than an hour and a half. In that time he was dripping blood on the floor, light switches and then pews in the church auditorium after cutting himself on the glass.

After removing blood stains, and fixing the window that was broken, pastor Napier said it’ll cost a few thousand to repair. It’s enough of a headache for a church one time, but it’s happened before just a few months ago.

“Throwing chunks of asphalt at cars driving by, and then he grabbed those chunks and started throwing them at the windows of the church,” said Napier after describing another suspect in November.

Knoxville Police Department officials reached out to WVLT News Thursday with an update on the case- identifying Kevin Wallace as a suspect.

Although frustrated by the break in, Napier said this suspect is welcome in his church as a part of the congregation down the road.

“We would be here to help with that. He needs to pay restitution for what he’s done, there needs to be a reckoning for what he’s done, but we would be there to be a friend and reach a hand out to him and help him on a path he chooses that would be different,” said Napier.

Wallace was charged with felony vandalism and burglary. He is not in custody at this time, KPD officials said.

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