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The Villages
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Damage at local church leads to arrest of suspect with long criminal history

James Roy McPeters
James Roy McPeters

A suspect with a long criminal history has been arrested after causing more than $10,000 in damage at a local church.

The pastor of Calvary Baptist Church at 3740 Eagles Nest Road in Fruitland Park said the church’s front lawn will have to be re-sodded and the parking lot will have to be pressure washed after the incident of vandalism that occurred on Sunday night, according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Video surveillance captured footage of a white Ford F-250 with a loud exhaust “doing donuts” in the grassy area in front of the church. The heavy-duty truck cut deep ruts in the lawn and near a retention pond. The pastor estimated the damage at more than $10,000. The vehicle has previously caused damage at the church.

The pastor and another church member said they knew the truck was owned by 35-year-old James Roy McPeters, who lives nearby on Eagles Nest Road. Deputies found that McPeters had posted a video of the church incident on his personal Facebook page. He later removed it, but not before it was captured by deputies.

While deputies were interviewing McPeters, a man stepped forward and said McPeters had also damaged his lawn by driving through it. When he confronted McPeters, he threatened to harm the man and his fiancee.

McPeters was arrested on a felony charge of criminal mischief and a charge of simple assault. He was booked at the Lake County Jail and released after posting $6,000 bond.

In 2016, McPeters was arrested on a charge of grand theft after he was captured on the gate camera in the Village of Hillsborough. He had been arrested a year earlier after he used a wrench to break out the windows of a truck in front of his wife and three young children.

In 2020, he was pulled over for driving a truck with an uncovered load and was found to be in possession of methamphetamine.

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