Contrite Burglar Breaks Into Del City Church, Daycare

Wednesday, August 14th 2013, 10:35 pm
By: News 9

A Del City man is in jail Wednesday night after breaking into an area church. But the church break-in is not what landed him behind bars.

Praise Assembly church members on S.E. 15th Street were shocked Sunday morning when a man, who admitted to breaking into the church, came back to apologize. But it's what he did afterwards that led to his arrest.

"We were here. We were asleep," said Minister Fredia Peoples.

A weekend church sleep-over turned into a Sunday morning Minister Peoples says they'll never forget.

"We just heard this loud noise, like boom," said Peoples.

Around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, 37-year old Charles McSwain broke a window and knocked over a TV. He wasn't expecting anyone to be inside.

"And I'm like, ‘Come out, I see you! Whatever you have drop it now,'" said Peoples. "And I kept telling him, ‘How could you steal from a church? How? Why?'" said Peoples.  

McSwain took off on foot and Peoples called police. Less than three hours later he showed back up at the church. A church member noticed McSwain staring at the back window he used to break inside.

"And he said, ‘Ma'am, I just want to apologize. I'm the one that broke into your church,'" said Pastor Pat Jenkins.

"We all received his repentance," said Peoples.

Jenkins invited McSwain into what she says turned into a powerful church service. He told the pastor he grew up with his father as a minister and said he was so condemned and so convicted when he broke into their church. He went on to tell her he was not in his right mind.  

"He sat over there in the last seat there and began to enjoy himself in the service. Our members were embracing him and loving on him, telling him we forgive him. It was powerful. He really did seem to be resentful for what he done," said Jenkins.

Jenkins says before they knew who broke into their church, leaders of the congregation had already prayed before service, saying they forgave the burglar and held no bitterness against him. An hour later, he's standing at the window he broke into to get inside, and is welcomed back in.

"A criminal coming back to apologize, never knowing what the results would be. It was awesome," said Jenkins.  

But after McSwain left the church service, he went down the street and broke into a daycare, a second time.

Apparently he left a set of keys he took from the pastor's office at the daycare after the first break-in the same morning. Church leaders approached Jenkins during the service asking him where the keys were. That led them to Small Society Daycare.

Del City Police say McSwain later admitted he broke into the daycare and stole several items there which included a computer monitor, video games and an X-Box. At that point, Jenkins said they had no choice but to call police.

"We gave you grace. We had grace. But you stretched that grace a little too far. We pray for Charlie. We hope that he gets better," said Jenkins.

McSwain was arrested at the daycare. Police brought him back to the church to be identified by the pastor.