BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Timothy Booker Lancaster, 30, was arrested last night after the pastor of a church reported that someone was inside. The pastor had driven by the Greater East Newport Baptist Church, 4010 SW 24th Avenue, at around 7:45 p.m. and called police, who arrived and took Lancaster into custody after they made announcements and he exited the building.
The pastor reported that he had last been in the building about 3 months ago and that he had not given Lancaster authorization to enter the building. He also said it had been “locked and secured” when he had last been there. The window of the fellowship hall was broken, and that appeared to be how Lancaster had entered.
Lancaster claimed that he was told by a member of the church that he could stay at the church and also that he had entered by walking through an unlocked back door.
The police report states that Lancaster “trashed the fellowship hall with his personal belongings and used the appliances in the kitchen as storage for his miscellaneous items” and that he had less than 20 grams of cannabis in his possession. The damage reportedly came to about $3,000. Lancaster told police he had been staying at the church for about a week; he also reportedly said that “there were drugs in the building but nothing too serious,” just a few “roaches.”
Lancaster was charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure, damage to property of over $1,000, and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. He remains in the Alachua County Jail.