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Thief vandalizes Fla. church, causing $8K in damages — then baptizes himself in sanctuary pool: cops


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A Georgia man broke into a Florida church, causing several thousands of dollars’ worth of damage – then baptized himself in the sanctuary pool, police said.

Officers responding to a burglary call at the Emerald Beach Church of God in Panama City Beach on Friday discovered that Derek Porter had used a cinderblock to smash a window to get inside, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said.

A female church employee fled when she heard the glass breaking, cops said.

“While inside, Porter caused approximately $8,000 worth of damage to the church, police said in a statement. “Porter then loaded several electronics including a television and a computer into his truck along with the church’s money bag.”

The suspect, who was out on bond for a burglary in Georgia, was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia when he was arrested, police said.

“Porter stated he could not remember what happened during various moments inside the church,” the department said in the statement.

“He did remember however baptizing himself in the church’s baptistry pool. Porter claims ‘something’ was holding his head down under the water while in the pool,” it added.

Porter has been charged with burglary of an occupied structure, criminal mischief, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was being held in the Bay County Jail on a $19,500 bond, WSB-TV reported.

Body cam footage shows deputies making contact with Porter and clearing the church.

While inside a police dog “decides to beat the heat and cool off in the baptismal,” police said.

Body cam footage shows deputies making contact with Porter and clearing the church.

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