HomeCrimeHomeless pair arrested for trying to break into church
Homeless pair arrested for trying to break into church
January 16, 2024
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.
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