Martin is third person charged in several church burglaries
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Aug 28, 2014 | 1365 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Church burglaries suspects
Michael Martin
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Three people are now in custody after a rash of reported church burglaries and a pair of earlier arrests.

Police have also arrested Michael Martin, 22, after he was identified as a suspect.

Three churches were burglarized and another was damaged during an attempted burglary.

Two other men have also been charged in the burglaries. Justin Bazzano, 25, and Clint Neice, 25, were charged with burglaries at Saint Therese Catholic Church after officials found the church had been burglarized twice within a 72-hour period of time.

Two other burglaries were reported early last week, sending police detectives into action searching for suspects after crucial evidence was obtained.

Detective Bill Parks and Criminal Investigations Division Interim Lt. Matt Jenkins established Bazzano and Neice as suspects. Bazzano was taken into custody and Neice reportedly fled the area and was arrested in Asheville, North Carolina, earlier this week.

Cash had been taken from the offices of Saint Therese, North Cleveland Baptist Church and South Cleveland United Methodist Church. Damage at Central Church of Christ was reported after an attempted burglary there.

According to Parks, Martin was charged with the attempted burglary as well as burglary at North Cleveland Baptist and Saint Therese, along with Neice and Bazzano.

Parks also said CID investigators are looking into the possibility the trio allegedly were involved in three other break-ins at local churches recently.

According to officer Evie West, Martin was charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft under $500 and one count of attempted burglary.

Bazzano had previously been charged with two counts of burglary, theft over $1,000 and two counts of vandalism over $500 along with Neice.

Neice is currently awaiting extradition from North Carolina.

Additional arrests and charges are possible as the investigation continues, according to Parks.

- Tennessee Highway Patrol is gearing up for the “No Refusal” campaign during the Labor Day Holiday weekend.

Sobriety and Safety Checkpoints will be set up during the afternoon, evening and late-night hours of the weekend in the Chattanooga District of the THP.

The “No Refusal” law went into effect in July 2012.

Bradley County was included in the Chattanooga District 2 enforcement campaign, which allows suspected DUI offenders no recourse in refusing blood-alcohol draws.

THP instituted “Drive to Zero” recently, in an effort to educate the driving public about dangerous driving and lower traffic fatalities.

To date, Tennessee has recorded 616 traffic-related crash deaths, compared to 655 in 2013, a decrease of 39 percent.

The Labor Day weekend begins Friday at 6 p.m. and lasts for 96 hours, ending Monday at midnight.

In 2013, 15 crash-related deaths occurred and six of those reportedly blamed alcohol use as a contributing factor, according to THP information.

No deaths were reported in Bradley County during the 2013 Labor Day weekend.