Police in Pulaski County nab accused "gutter bandits"

A bizarre discovery Wednesday night at the Piney Grove Baptist Church in Pulaski County.

“We just realized when we came to church yesterday all the downspouts were missing from the fellowship hall and church,” said Piney Grove Baptist Church member Elliot Tomlinson.

Thieves had cut every downspout not just at Piney Grove, but also at nearby Clay Hill Baptist and at least three other churches in Pulaski County.

“Why would they do that, if they knew the church would have given them the money, or one of the members would have,” Tomlinson said.

Police say aluminum downspout thefts have been a problem for months. But yesterday morning, there was a crack in the case as a witness spotted a pickup truck full of down spouts. Ronnie Claiborne and Jordan Stephens were in it and police say they had been seen leaving another church after another crime.

“It was quite a thorn in our community’s side, certainly law enforcement’s,” said Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood.

Police believe the suspects hit other churches in Pulaski County as well. They think the grand jury could add more charges.

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