KEARNEY — Two Kearney men have been charged in connection with a string of church burglaries in Dawson and Phelps counties earlier this month.

Ric Brundidge, 34, and Tyrelle Smiley, 21, both of Kearney, both are charged in Phelps County Court with felony burglary at Westmark Evangelical Free Church in Loomis on Nov. 11, and misdemeanor criminal mischief between $500 and $1,500. In that incident the duo are accused of using a crowbar to break in to the church, ransack the pastor’s office and pry open a safe with the crowbar.

Court records said the men were looking for money or anything else they could take.

The men also are charged in Dawson County Court with felony burglary at American Lutheran Church, address unknown, and Victory Assembly of God Church in Gothenburg, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony and possession of a short shotgun all on Nov. 17. Brundidge also is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Court records are unclear where American Lutheran Church is located. No details on those alleged incidents are listed in the court records.

In Buffalo County, Brundidge is charged with felony burglary and criminal mischief less than $500, a misdemeanor, in the Nov. 17 burglary at Countryside Christian Church, 3803 Eighth Ave.

Smiley also faces weapons charges in Buffalo County after Kearney police served a search warrant Nov. 18 at an apartment he shared with Brundidge. Smiley is charged with possession of a defaced firearm, possession of a short shotgun, possession of a stolen firearm, all felonies, and carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.

During the search police found a gun safe allegedly belonging to Smiley that contained a 12-gauge shotgun that had been cut down and had the serial number ground off, numerous 12-gauge shells, glass and metal pipes, bags that had a white residue and marijuana grinders.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for the weapons violations, and on Nov. 21 contacted Smiley in the 1200 block of Second Avenue. During a search of his vehicle police found a concealed 9mm handgun, which had been reported stolen, between the front seats.

Smiley was interviewed at the Kearney/Buffalo County Law Enforcement Center and was arrested.

Today, both men are being held at the Buffalo County Jail on several bonds. They are scheduled to appear in court in December.


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