Newberry man sentenced to 10 years for church thefts


Newberry. S.C.; April 24, 2019 — A string of church break-ins that spanned two counties landed a Newberry man a 10-year sentence after he entered a guilty plea Monday afternoon to charges stemming from the incident, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday

Terrance Lenard Chisolm, 38, changed his plea to guilty on the day of his scheduled trial Monday on to five counts of second-degree burglary.  Circuit Judge R. Scott Sprouse sentenced Chisolm to 10 years in prison on each of the charges, with the sentences to run concurrently. Chisolm has two prior convictions for burglary.

During the night of May 15, 2018 and the early morning hours of May 16, 2018, Chisolm broke into five churches in Laurens and Newberry counties and stole computers, flat-screen televisions and various other electronic items. Chisolm left a tire iron behind at one incident location and a milk carton with a straw in it at another incident location. Both of those items showed Chisolm’s DNA on them.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley and Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Chisolm was represented by Charles Verner of the 8th Circuit Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff as well as the Laurens and Newberry Sheriffs’ investigators for their stellar work in securing the convictions and sentences.

“The churches in our communities are beacons of light for our communities,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “Terrance Chisolm violated these peaceful sanctuaries simply to pad his own pockets. It is my hope and prayer that Chisolm being brought to justice this week will bring some closure for these bodies of believers across our counties.”

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