Officer poses as Craigslist buyer to arrest alleged church burglar

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DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. —

Dawson County investigators said an undercover sting led them to a suspect in a break-in.

Channel 2's Jade Hernandez talked to the Lumpkin County sheriff about the case, who said more charges could come later.

Investigators said Skyler Michaelsen, 20, went to meet a buyer from Craigslist, who he did not know was an undercover law enforcement officer. Officers suspected Michaelsen's goods were stolen.

“For whatever reason, he pulled into the parking lot and he didn't feel like they were the way he wanted them to feel and he left,” Capt. Tony Wooten with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office said.

Sheriff’s officials said they tried to initiate a traffic stop and Michaelsen sped away, eventually crashing and then running away from the car and into a wooded area nearby.

Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard was able to talk Michaelsen out of the woods via cell phone.

Michaelsen faces traffic offense charges in Dawson County, and most likely, officials said, will face burglary charges from church thefts.

He already faces the same charges in neighboring Lumpkin County, according to authorities.

“Early on, we were having somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 loss we believe,” Wooten said. 

Jarrad said it is sad that there are crimes committed in places like churches.

“You go from the days of leaving doors unlocked at church and people able to go in at any time and have prayer and whatnot, to having to lock the doors, to now a lot of churches putting in alarm systems. That saddens me altogether," Jarrard said.

There have been nearly 20 burglaries at north Georgia churches in recent months. Authorities said a common thread in the burglaries is thieves stealing musical equipment and instruments, as well as electronics.