Suspect charged in school, church break-ins

By Terri Flagg -


Surry County Detention Center

DOBSON — A Dobson man was charged in connection to a series of break-ins at two area churches, one school and one local volunteer fire department, according to a statement released by the Surry County Sherriff’s Office.

James Benson Rhodes Jr., 28, of U.S. 601, was arrested last week, Atkinson stated.

The break-ins occurred between May 16 and May 30 at Rockford Elementary School in Dobson, CC Camp Volunteer Fire Department in Elkin, Blackwater United Methodist Church on Siloam Road, Mount Airy, and Rock Hill Baptist Church in Mount Airy.

While Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson is a member of Blackwater United Methodist Church, he said information from the incident at Rock Hill helped investigators break the case.

The suspect allegedly stole $50 cash from that church and fled the scene on a scooter, Atkinson said.

The method of transportation helped explain why few items were stolen from the other locations.

At the sheriff’s own church, nothing was stolen.

Atkinson explained the thefts were situations of “grab whatever could be grabbed and get gone.”

The locations were of no apparent connection to the suspect, Atkinson said.

“These were targets of opportunity,” he said. “The suspect has a lengthy history of break-ins.”

Rhodes was charged with two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of larceny after breaking and entering, two counts of breaking and entering a place of worship and one count injury to real property.

He was booked into the Surry County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond and scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 16.

Rhodes Surry County Detention Center

By Terri Flagg

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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