3 men arrested in connection to string of church burglaries

CANTON, S.D. — Authorities in Lincoln County, South Dakota have arrested three northwest Iowa men suspected in a string of church burglaries. Over the last month, Lincoln County Deputies have been investigating several burglaries of rural churches in the county. Deputies have been working with neighboring agencies in both South Dakota and Iowa who have experienced similar church burglaries.

As part of their investigation, on December 28th, Lincoln County Deputies suspected there was a particular church south of Canton that was going to be the target of another burglary. Because of this, two Lincoln County Deputies were stationed inside the church that night. While the two deputies were inside the church, two men came up to the back door and attempted to break in. While they were attempting to get through the door, the men suddenly left. Deputies were able to see the suspects leave in a black Chevrolet Avalanche. Another deputy was nearby and was able to locate the truck and eventually pulled it over.

They arrested 31-year-old, Billy “Ty” Phillips from Hawarden, 27-year-old John Carr from Sheldon, and 19-year-old Darren Nicholson from Sioux Center.

Investigators say they found meth, burglary tools and other burglary-related items inside the truck.

All three suspects were transported to the Minnehaha County Jail and booked in on charges of burglary 3rd degree, possession of burglary tools, possession of controlled substance, and ingesting controlled substance. The driver also had an added charge for having forged paper plates.

The LCSO was assisted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Canton Police Department.