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Calvert County man charged with burglary after breaking in, vandalizing church sanctuary

Calvert County officials estimate the damages total more than $2,000.

CALVERT COUNTY, Md. — A 46-year-old man is in police custody after breaking into a Calvert County church and damaging the property.

Officials say deputies from the department responded to Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church, in North Beach, Md. around 7:21 a.m. Friday for reports of a burglary.

Investigators say a suspect, later identified as Edward Francis Lavin, entered the church through the front door and caused major damage to the sanctuary. 

A representative for the department told WUSA9 a stone angel, crucifix, a stained glass window on the front door, multiple candles and candleholders, and an organ and piano were all damaged. The total for damages is estimated at $2,680. 

On its Facebook page, the church shared a letter from its pastor, Father James Stack, to parishioners.

Stack writes in the letter, "As some of you may have heard, last night St. Anthony's was broken into and ransacked, in particular the sanctuary. The tabernacle was untouched. The situation could have been a lot worse although, there was quite a bit of destruction."

The church is in the process of "cleaning up and getting things put back together," Stack wrote, adding, "all events for this weekend, retreats, Stations of the Cross soup supper, Mass etc. will take place as scheduled."

Lavin was identified by investigators through surveillance footage and evidence collected from the scene. Detectives arrested Lavin at his home in Chesapeake Beach, Md. and took him to the Calvert County Detention Center.

He is charged with Second Degree Burglary, Fourth Degree Burglary, Malicious Destruction of Property more than $1,000 and Theft Less than $100.

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