published Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Third man charged in Cleveland, Tenn., church burglaries

The third, and believed to be final suspect in the recent Cleveland, Tenn., church burglaries was arrested on Tuesday.

Surveillance video allowed detectives to identify Michael Martin, 22, as the third suspect. After identifying Martin, Detective Bill Parks received a tip regarding his whereabouts, according to a news release from the Cleveland Police Department.

Parks and another officer went to the given address and made contact with Martin, who confessed to entering two churches and stealing and vandalizing with Neice and Bazzano, the release said.

Martin has been charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft under $500, and one count of attempted burglary.

Clint Alan Neice and Justin Lee Bazzano already have been arrested in connection to the burglaries.

Neice was arrested in Asheville, N.C., on Tuesday and is being held on $50,000 bond for a fugitive warrant and has not yet been charged locally.

Bazzano, the first of the suspects to be arrested last Friday, has been charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of vandalism over $500, and two counts of theft over $1,000, according to Cleveland police.

The burglaries began the night of Aug. 17 at South Cleveland United Methodist Church; they continued on Aug. 18 and 19, as St. Therese Catholic Church was hit both nights, and North Cleveland Baptist Church was burglarized on Aug. 19.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6592.

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