A fired church janitor is facing a burglary charge after employees of Main Street United Methodist Church found him inside an office, allegedly rummaging through a desk.
The suspect, Victor T. Branch, 45, of the 2500 block of College Avenue, is in custody with bond of $50,000.
He is not being charged with theft of any items that workers at the church, 1400 Main St., discovered missing last weekend.
An Alton Police Department report says a church employee discovered $300 missing from an office storage room at noon Sunday.
The next day, an employee noticed that a black, Latitude brand E6500 laptop computer worth $1,120 and a silver-colored Nikon digital camera were missing from one office. Some $25 to $28 in currency was gone from a cash box in another office.
The report says there was no sign of forced entry to the church, leading the workers to suspect either a visitor or employee stole the items.
Because of the recent thefts, at 8:05 a.m. Tuesday, an employee asked police to check the building before workers went inside, to ensure their safety. A secretary found a drawer to her desk had been rummaged through, and $1 and keys were missing; another desk drawer was found forced open, and $200 and checks for an upcoming golf tournament had been stolen.
At that time, an employee allegedly saw Branch rummaging through a desk drawer in another office, saying he was looking for a key, the report says. The employee, though, told police that Branch – who church workers suspected of the thefts – had been terminated Monday and was not allowed on church property.
The report says the burglar apparently broke a window in a door to gain entrance to the church on Tuesday.