Man charged in church break-ins in Livonia, other communities

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Livonia — A Metro Detroit man accused of burglarizing several churches is to appear in court Thursday, officials said. 

Anthony Lavin, 42, is scheduled to appear in 16th District Court in Livonia for a probable cause conference in the case against him.


He was arraigned last week on charges of breaking and entering a building with intent to steal, a 10-year felony, and possessing burglar's tools, also a 10-year felony, according to authorities. A judge ordered him held on a $500,000 bond. 

Authorities accuse Lavin of breaking into the Bell Creek Community Church on Five Mile near Middle Belt in Livonia. They said he is also a person of interest in burglaries at least three other churches in Livonia as well as churches in nearby communities.

Livonia police said officers in nearby Farmington Hills responded Dec. 30 to a call about a burglary at a church. The church's doorbell security camera captured footage of a white Dodge Ram pickup at the scene during the crime.

Farmington Hills police detectives identified a truck matching the description and began surveillance. They later saw Lavin get into the truck and leave the city, according to police. The detectives followed him to Bell Creek Community Church in Livonia.

Lavin allegedly broke into the church by removing a window screen and prying open a door before a burglar alarm sounded and scared him away, officials said.

Detectives contacted Livonia police officers who stopped Lavin about five miles from the church at Schoolcraft and Newburgh. He was marginally cooperative, police said, and he was arrested.

Lavin has previous convictions for breaking and entering, assault of a prison employee and home invasion.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez