Gang of mostly middle-aged South Carolinians arrested for string of thefts from NE Georgia churches

Five South Carolina residents were arrested Sunday by the Habersham County Sheriff's office for church-related thefts in Habersham, Franklin and Hart Counties. Stephens County was not included in the list of counties where thefts had occurred.

On Sunday, Aug. 23, Habersham CountySheriff's Office deputies responded to a suspicious activity call for service at Camp Creek Baptist Church off Camp Creek Road.

Upon arrival, deputies observed several subjects jump into a gold HOnda Odyssey located in the parking lot of the church. The subjects sped out of the parking lot in an apparent attempt to flee from the deputies. Deputies pursued the vehicle and, several miles later, deployed spike strips which led to the eventual stopping of the fleeing vehicle.

Habersham County Sheriff's Office criminal investigators were called to the scene in reference to suspicious items located inside the fleeting suspect's vehicle. Criminal investigators have been able to determine that the items (later identified as catalytic converters) had been cut off and stolen from several different church vans located in Habersham County, as well as other vehicles located in Franklin, Hart, and possibly other counties within South Carolina.

Tamitha Piper, 50, of Greenville, SC, Brittany Piper, 29, of Simpsonville, SC, Laurie Keiser, 57 of Ware Shoals, SC, Steven Roussell, 41, of Ware Shoals, SC, and Stephen Eskensen, 43, of Simpsonville, SC, were arrested on scene and charged as follows:

Tamitha Piper

1 count Party to a Crime/Theft by Taking

1 count fleeing and Attempting to Elude

1 count of Obstruction

1 count of Reckless Driving

1 count of Failure to Maintain Lane

1 count of Failure to Obey Stop Sign

*Also has an open warrant out of Franklin County for Larceny

Brittany Piper

1 count Party to a Crime/Theft by Taking

1 count Possession of a Controlled Substance

1 count Possession of Drug-Related Objects

Laurie Keiser

1 count Party to a Crime/Theft by Taking

Steven Roussell

1 count Theft by Taking

*Also has open warrants out of Franklin and Hart counties for Larceny

Stephen Eskensen

1 count Theft by Taking

All subjects are currently being held at the Habersham County Detention Center. The investigation remains on-going and further charges may be forthcoming.


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