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Man Accused of Burglarizing, Vandalizing Church on Christmas Day

Police say they saw the suspect 'inside the sanctuary destroying property.'

Photo of Jose Ramirez, 18, of Hemet, released by Hemet police Dec. 27, 2013.
Photo of Jose Ramirez, 18, of Hemet, released by Hemet police Dec. 27, 2013.
An 18-year-old Hemet man was arrested Christmas Day and accused of burglary and vandalism at Arms of Love Church in Hemet, a police lieutenant said Friday.

The accused, Jose Ramirez, 18, of Hemet, remained locked up Dec. 27 at Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, according to inmate records. He was held on suspicion of charges including felony burglary and felony vandalizing a place of worship.

A burglary in progress was reported at 12:19 p.m. Dec. 25 at Arms of Love, 141 N. Palm Ave., just north of Florida Avenue, Hemet police Lt. Eric Dickson said in a statement.

"Officers arrived on scene and located a male suspect, later identified as Jose Ramirez, inside of the sanctuary actively destroying property," Dickson said.

"As the officers attempted to detain Ramirez, he refused to follow their orders and attempted to escape," Dickson said. "Ultimately, the suspect was taken into custody after a brief struggle."

Police determined Ramirez had stolen some electronic equipment and caused significant damage to the church, estimated in excess of $4,500, Dickson said.

Ramirez has a court date Dec. 30 at Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, according to inmate records.

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