Homeless pair arrested for trying to break into church

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – James William Amerski, 35, and Rebecca Lynn Silas, 42, were arrested last night and charged with attempted burglary to an unoccupied structure after allegedly trying to enter Parkview Baptist Church through a window; Silas was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and giving a false name to law enforcement, and she also had a warrant for violation of probation. Both defendants are described as homeless in court documents.

At about 7:20 p.m. last night, a Gainesville Police Department officer responded to a report of a burglary at the church at 3402 NW 13th Street. As the officer arrived, he saw Amerski and Silas walking northbound on NW 13th Street, away from the church, and he reported that they turned east on NW 32nd Avenue when they saw him. He turned on his lights and made contact with them.

Post Miranda, they both reportedly said they had been at the church but admitted nothing else.

The officer viewed surveillance video provided by the church and reportedly saw Amerski pulling on the doorknob of the church while Silas removed a piece of glass from a window but did not enter the church.

A search of Silas, incident to arrest, reportedly produced “molly” and a glass pipe with a white powdery substance. She also allegedly gave the name “Lian Smith” to an officer before being identified as Silas.

Amerski’s first local arrest was in September 2022, when he was charged with grand theft of a vehicle, driving without a valid license, and drug possession; he pled to the latter two charges and was sentenced to 270 days in jail. He was arrested again in July 2023 and charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving without a valid license; he pled to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Including the above cases, Amerski has 10 felony convictions (none violent) and eight felony convictions (none violent). He has served four state prison sentences, with his most recent release in November 2021. Judge Thomas Jaworski set bail at $10,000.

Silas has eight felony convictions (none violent) and three misdemeanor convictions (none violent). She is on probation for felony petit theft. Her arrest warrant specified that she be held without bail after arrest, and Judge Jaworski set bail at $8,000 on the new charges (she will be held without bail until the violation of probation case is resolved).

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

    • Yeaaaaah because she totally makes the laws.. hold her accountable.. stupid liberals make all the rules 🙄 because that’s how government works

      • Free speech – Hope you’re not implying Judge Jaworski is a “she.” If so, you’re really out of touch and not from around here are you?

      • It’s not about making the laws, its about enforcing them. You know, 7th grade civics stuff.

  • This is what the evil that has controlled us for so long has done to many, many people. This is not at all normal and I’m pretty sure they weren’t born like this.

  • REALLY, BREAKING INTO A CHURCH?, maybe they were looking for a place to get in out of the cold.

    • That is what Grace alternative detention center is for. Just because you are cold and hunger doesnt give to an automatic right to break the law. Given their history I seriously doubt that their intention was to get out of the cold and get right with God.

  • I’m glad he’s got all that sh!t on his face…its EZ to identify that POS!

  • This is what all you liberals asked for since you want to be all liberal and $hït.. Stay used to until we get some Republicans running the show. Go ahead and give me thumbs down. I don’t care.

  • he looks innocent to me . Maybe he was looking for his Missing Gov Ron , who has been in iowa for 6 months going to all 99 counties only to Lose in Every Single 1 of them . So Much Winning! Come back to tallahazi Ron .

  • Love to see “criminal” burnt into their foreheads with a soldering iron. With the lives they’re leading, they need to get used to the heat.

  • @Talleywacker, you are so right. Before I got released from prison there were other inmates that had no place to go and several of them would use grace market place as their address because you had to have an address before release. The prison will buy a bus ticket near your address.

  • They just needed a place to stay 😮‍💨🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶 it’s chilly LOL

  • Well you have judge Jaworski whom is lenient as hell then you have Colaw who is out for the kill! Both are down right nuts but colaw needs to get his ass out of the court system. I guess these people were cold last night but they don’t have to worry now. They have a free meals, heat, and a bed for a while. Time to clean up. To bad he can’t clean his face up.

  • Well, obviously, ALL we really need to do is pass more laws against this behavior,

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