Bloody bandit forces Cheatham County church to cancel Sunday service

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An alleged thief dubbed the ‘bloody bandit’ is behind bars in Metro Jail after being arrested by Airport Police on DUI charges.

The man, now identified as Ray McGhee, is also wanted for questioning by investigators in Davidson County, Cheatham County, and Ashland City.

The 37-year-old is accused of breaking into a CDB store in Joelton, a Cheatham County church, multiple stores in Ashland City, and he is prime suspect in two Davidson County auto thefts.

In each burglary case, detectives say the suspect threw a rock or piece of concrete through a plate glass window. In all the crime scenes, authorities say the suspect was dripping blood from a serious wound on his hand.

According to an arrest affidavit, McGhee drove a stolen Ford Focus on the evening of August 11 when Airport Police arrived and found him out of his silver Ford Focus arguing with the driver of a Chevrolet Camaro at the corner of Donelson Pike and Hanger Lane.

According to the arrest report, McGhee’s vehicle was half on the curb with damaged bumpers, a blown tire and damaged rim. Police report that McGhee smelled of alcohol and they found alcohol in his car.

The driver of the Camaro told officers that McGhee hit him from the rear several times and attempted to flee, but the Camaro driver followed McGhee and watched him crash onto the curb on Hanger Lane.

Though the alleged crime spree happened a week ago, many businesses are still cleaning up the mess.

At the Calvary Bible Church on Highway 41A, a biohazard clean-up team was at the church Wednesday cleaning up blood drops that were all over the church.

Senior Pastor David Harrell told News 2 that blood was on the floors, the carpets, and on equipment and door handles. There was so much blood after the break in at the church that the pastor cancelled this past Sunday’s church service.

“With so much to be fixed, and with the blood, we could not bring people in,” Harrell said, adding, “We have so many families with young children, that would be risky.”

The crime spree at the church happened around 11 p.m. on August 10. That’s when the man now identified as McGhee allegedly broke into the church, smashing through multiple doors using a concrete pedestal he found at the church.

“Of course, you feel violated, it is a very disconcerting feeling,” Harrell says.

Once inside, Harrell tells News 2 that McGhee is seen ripping a monitor from the wall and stealing electronics like computers and sound boards. Church surveillance video shows McGhee loading his stolen merchandise on a rolling chair and pushing it to the door that he threw a rock through, pushing it out the door to a stolen Volkswagen SUV.

“We also have pity for a person who would do that. He needs help, but the public must be protected as well.”

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Throughout the church crime spree, the pastor tells News 2 that McGhee was bleeding badly from a cut to his arm or hand. At one point, you can see the suspect using a blood stained towel to wipe his arm.

“You really need to clean this up. You don’t know what type of contaminates are in there,” Harrell says.

According to Detective Bill Powers, from the church burglary, McGhee threw bloody rocks through glass windows at multiple businesses in Ashland City. He drove down Highway 12 where he threw a rock through the window at Highway 12 Motor Sports, allegedly stealing a key to the silver Ford Focus he was found driving by Airport Police.

According to Det. Powers, McGhee transferred some of the stolen property from one stolen car to the other, but for some reason, he left behind the big-ticket items from the church.

The pastor told News 2 that he has yet to see that equipment, but if it is covered with the suspect’s blood as he expects, he does not plan to bring it back into the church.

“I would say he needs to examine his heart. Give his life to Christ. By the power of the gospel, everything will change. And we’d do anything to help him. We pray for the man. We’ve had our people praying for him. We hope he gets the help he needs.”

Harrell tells News 2 that he will use the real-life story of the church break-in for inspiration in one of his upcoming sermons. Church officials say they fully expect to be open this coming Sunday.

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