LINCOLNTON, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A 27-year-old Lincolnton man stole and then spray-painted a church bus, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday.

Deputies responded to calls regarding the incident at Salem Baptist Church where a church bus had been reported stolen. The bus had not been seen since January 13th, according to the sheriff’s report. The bus was found on January 19th, abandoned, with black spray paint covering both sides of the bus.

Detectives were able to identify 27-year-old Lincolnton resident James Thatcher as the suspect and a search ensued. Thatcher was located on January 21st and was charged following an interview.

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Thatcher was also charged in connection to a home break-in that occurred at a relative’s house in September.

The sheriff’s office says this is not being considered a hate crime at this time.