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York County suspect wearing only underwear found in Lake Wylie church, cops say

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A York County man was arrested Saturday when sheriff’s deputies found him inside a church after a break-in wearing nothing but underwear and socks, police said.

Brian Joseph Cope, 37, was charged with malicious injury to a place of worship and burglary, said Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies received an alarm and motion sensor calls from Scherer Memorial Presbyterian Church in Lake Wylie around 1 a.m. Saturday, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

Officers found two front glass doors shattered by a light fixture and a flowerpot that had been broken, police said. Inside the church, deputies found Cope in “only underwear and socks” in a restroom, according to the incident report.

Police found blood on Cope and outside the church leading to the broken doors, officers said.

Cope admitted to police that a bundle of wet clothes outside the church door found by officers were his, officers said.

The preacher at the church showed responding officers video surveillance footage of Cope inside and outside the church. Police obtained a copy of the surveillance video.

Nothing was stolen during the break-in, officers said.

Both charges are felonies under South Carolina law. Damage to a church carries a sentence of from six months up to 10 years in prison for a conviction.

Cope was released from the York County jail Saturday on $15,000 bond, according to detention officers.

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