Church offers to help accused thief

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 16, 2011

By Emily Ford
Church members have forgiven the man accused of stealing guns and cell phones from parked cars during a service and hope to visit him in jail, Pastor Toney Parsons said.
First Baptist Church of Gold Hill on Sunday forgave Kacey Wayne Adams, 31, who was arrested Friday and admitted stealing from several unlocked vehicles Jan. 9 at the church on Old Beatty Ford Road.
“The church has forgiven him for that, and now we are just praying for him that he gets things turned around in his life,” Parsons said.
In connection with similar crimes in at least four counties, Adams faces 33 charges and is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under $180,000 secured bond.
When the congregation learned that Adams’ wife and 18-month-old child were in the car when he was arrested, church members were concerned, Parsons said.
“The first thing they did was think about his family and if they needed anything,” Parsons said. “Are his wife and kid going to be OK? Is there anything we can do to help them out?”
Detective Carl Dangerfield of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said he assured Parsons that Adams’ wife and child are fine. They live with Adams’ family, Dangerfield said.
The couples’ three other children are in foster care, Adams told authorities.
Dangerfield spent three hours at the church Sunday, speaking to the congregation about safety and returning two rifles and three cell phones. Adams led authorities to the house where he’d stashed the items, Dangerfield said.
Some church members want to visit Adams, Parsons said.
Parsons said he asked a detention center official about when the church could visit.
“They want to witness to him, but right now might not be the best time,” Parsons said. “We don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.
“God forgives, but you still have to pay for those things that you’ve done.”
Parsons said he preached about Adams on Sunday.
“If you see a brother overtaken in the fall, our job is to go back and restore him,” Parsons said. “He took a path any of us could take. There but for the grace of God, go I.”
Parsons said he heard not a single harsh word Sunday about Adams.
The church’s new surveillance cameras helped lead authorities from Rowan, Stanly, Cabarrus and Davidson counties to Adams, Dangerfield said. Cameras captured the image of a green Chevy Blazer pulling into the parking lot Jan. 9 just before the larcenies occurred.
The church installed the cameras after a rash of thefts, including catalytic converters stolen off a church van and member’s van, the theft of three heating and air conditioning units and a break-in at an outbuilding, Parsons said.
Dangerfield on Sunday encouraged church members to take additional precautions, like locking their cars.
The church also has installed a security system and additional lighting.
“I didn’t want them to get locked down with fear,” Parsons said. “They’re doing real well.”
About 170 people usually attend Sunday services at the church, which has grown from 12 members in 2000.
The church built a new sanctuary in 2007 at the intersection of Old Beatty Ford Road and Saint Stephens Church Road, where thieves stripped the wiring during construction and took all the copper, Parsons said.
Several church members are related to cyclists who were struck in May by a hit-and-run driver near the church. All survived.
Daniel Burton Wilson II of Rockwell is charged with six counts of felony hit and run. The case is pending.
The church also has been the victim of graffiti, Parsons said.
“If it’s happened, it’s happened to us,” he said.
The four most recent charges against Adams — two counts of larceny and two counts of breaking and entering a vehicle — stem from thefts Jan. 1 from cars parked at Cripple Creek Roadhouse.
Dangerfield said he has not recovered any property from that location yet, but he remains hopeful.
Adams continues to cooperate with authorities, Dangerfield said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.