Crime & Courts

Raleigh police arrest suspect in church, newspaper break-ins

A security camera captured this photo of a suspect in the News & Observer break-in Sunday.
A security camera captured this photo of a suspect in the News & Observer break-in Sunday.

Police say they have arrested a man who broke into the offices of The News & Observer and First Presbyterian Church in downtown Raleigh over the weekend.

Police have charged Ethan Michael Mangum, 23, of Fort Bragg with two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of injury to personal property and one count each of injury to real property and injury to a building, fence or wall. They say Mangum broke into the newspaper and church offices early Sunday morning.

At about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, newspaper staff found two offices badly damaged and a trail of blood through the newsroom. Someone had smashed windows, overturned furniture, and threw files out the third-story window into the newspaper’s front lawn. The blood, which was found smeared on a wall map, a pillar, door knobs and the floor, apparently resulted from cuts on the broken glass.

No security guard was on duty at The N&O at the time of the break-in shortly after 1 a.m., but surveillance cameras caught images of the man as he moved through the building. The video surveillance showed the man staggering.

“As drunk as that guy was, I couldn't tell what he was after,” said N&O Publisher Orage Quarles.

A block away, the break-in at First Presbyterian Church on Salisbury Street was discovered at 8 a.m. Sunday. The church had similar broken windows and traces of blood, police said.

Mangum later went to the Marriott hotel on Fayetteville Street, where people gathered at the World of Bluegrass festivities reported seeing a bleeding man, said police spokesman Jim Sughrue. Tips following the hotel appearance helped police find Mangum at Fort Bragg, Sughrue said.