Pair previously arrested for attempted church burglary now charged with grand theft after video reportedly shows them stealing multiple items

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – James William Amerski, 35, and Rebecca Lynn Silas, 42, were arrested on January 15 and charged with attempted burglary of Parkview Baptist Church; Silas was also charged with several counts of drug possession. After reviewing video from the church, Gainesville Police Department has now filed additional charges of burglary and grand theft from a previous break-in on January 14.

A church trustee reported that someone broke a window, entered the building, and stole items including a TV, DVD player, paper towels, and three storage tubs filled with Fall Festival decorations and games; the items were valued at about $750.

A GPD officer reported that surveillance video at the church shows Amerski and Silas arriving at the church around 3:12 a.m. on January 14. In the video, Amerski can be seen breaking and then opening the window; he lifts up Silas, and she goes inside and then opens the door for Amerski.

Over the next four hours, the video shows the pair going through items at the church and making piles of items to steal. At about 7 a.m., they can be seen moving multiple items out into the hallway. At about 8 a.m., a silver vehicle arrives, and Amerski and Silas load the items into the vehicle and leave in the car.

Silas and Amerski allegedly returned later that evening, January 15, and tried to get back into the church but found it locked. They stayed for a short time, reportedly engaging in oral sex, then left; a GPD officer made contact with them a short time later and arrested them. Formal charges have already been filed in that case: Amerski was charged with attempted burglary, and Silas was charged with attempted burglary, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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 on the January 15 charges and added another $25,000 in bail today for the burglary and grand theft charges.

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 January 15 charges (she will be held without bail until the violation of probation case is resolved); Judge Jaworski added another $25,000 in bail today for the burglary and grand theft charges.

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. 

  • Maybe that dude should follow the scriptures that are carved in his red neck. What a piece of trash – both of them

  • We need stricter punishment for criminals. Give them NO luxuries for one in jail/prison. No TV, NO gym, NO FREE stuff. Hard labor is best.

  • Maybe I’m just living my life wrong, but that isn’t the first thing that comes to mind if I find somewhere locked.

    “Hey baby, this door is locked. You wanna …. ?”

  • Gosh, I wonder how they stood out on the video? What makes them so distinctive? 🤔🧐

  • I guess he’s a daddy’s girl. It’s tattooed right on his forehead. LMFAO!!!

  • That is just plain outright prime example of selfish scumbags,I mean what’s this world coming to whoever the judge is besides the main judge god himself should really set an example of why we don’t break into God’s house you shouldn’t break into anything but a church ,they should be ashamed of their self and who doesn’t agree that they should get the maximum penalty in prison for what they did.please everyone back me up on this I mean these junkies are just getting worse and worse.

  • Hey,Ms Silas can you get any uglier I mean my god why wasn’t she charged with aggravated assault with deadly looks!!!!

  • In addition to being characterless, they’re both ugly as sin and how stupid is he? He tats up his whole face thus making him instantly recognizable and easy to identify. SMH

  • He was a Daddy’s girl in prison. His “Daddy” had that tattooed on on him probably. Lol!!

  • ” three storage tubs filled with Fall Festival decorations and games”

    Really? They had 4 hours to go thru stuff and took that? They seem pretty METHED up.

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