Police: Man tried to break into, rob church in Gainesville

A north Georgia man has been jailed for allegedly attempting to rob a Gainesville church after an evening service, authorities said.

Jason Travis Estep, 37, of Toccoa is accused of first-degree burglary, vandalism and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday in an email to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Estep was arrested Wednesday after officers were summoned to Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Lyman Drive. A citizen called 911 after allegedly seeing the suspect attempting to forcefully enter the church, police said.

Deputies soon spotted Estep with a crowbar and a plastic jug filled with cash as he left the church.

Pastor Levi Nix had just concluded the regular Wednesday evening service when he received a call from dispatch after 9 p.m. to meet back at the church.

“By God’s grace, nothing was taken and all was recovered,” Nix said. “My hope would personally be that he comes to terms with Christ in his life and accepts Christ as his savior.”