top of page

Thief ‘vandalizes church then baptizes himself in sanctuary pool’

A man in Florida was arrested after breaking into a church, baptizing himself, then causing about $8,000 worth of damage.

Derek Porter was arrested after trying to break into the Emerald Beach Church of God in Florida

(Picture: Bay County Sheriff’s Office)

Sheriff’s deputies in Panama City Beach responded to an attempted burglary at the Emerald Beach Church of God on Friday.

When they arrived, they found a suspected burglar who claimed he was compelled to use the church’s large baptismal pool inside the sanctuary.

Derek Porter, a native of Georgia, was identified as the suspect. Investigators believe he used a nearby cinder block to smash the church’s windows and get inside.

Derek Porter’s mug shot (Picture: Bay County Sheriff’s Office)

Porter then proceeded to load electronic equipment from the church into his truck, including a television and a computer, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

He also stole the church’s money bag, the sheriff’s office said. In total, the sheriff’s office estimated the vandal caused about $8,000 worth of damage to the church.

When he was confronted by sheriff’s deputies in the church’s parking lot, he told them he ‘could not remember what happened during various moments inside the church.’

He said he did remember baptizing himself inside the church’s baptistry pool, and that ‘something’ was holding his head under water.

In addition to the stolen objects, deputies found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia on his person.

Porter was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and possession of drugs and paraphernalia. He was already out on bond for a burglary charge in his home state of Georgia.

Friday’s incident was not the first time a church burglar was stopped by outside forces.

Last year, a would-be church burglar was arrested by police in Spokane, Washington. While officers were placing him under arrest, a skunk sprayed the thief with his ‘malodorous’ spray.

‘The skunk is a wild animal and not affiliated with law enforcement or the church,’ the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said.


4 views0 comments


bottom of page