CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police have arrested and charged a man with breaking into numerous cars in church parking lots, thanks to a sharp-eyed victim of one of those break-ins.
Howard Watson is facing several charges after his arrest.
Since last January, investigators said Watson went into the parking lots of three Park Road churches and smashed car windows with a brick. Some of the vehicles were locked, some were not. All had valuables left inside.
One of the victims was Gemma Acevedo, who said, “To get my purse stolen with all my belongings...it’s all materialistic things but at the end of the day it is everything that you work for.”
Acevedo’s car was broken into last month in the lot of the Park Road Baptist Church. The other churches along Park Road that were hit were Avondale Presbyterian and Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church.
Tammy Watkins was another victim of a break-in while her car was parked at Park Road Baptist and she actually kept the brick that was thrown through her window.
“I kept it to remind me to pray for him,” Watkins said.
And, as it turned out, it was Watkins who provided police with a tip that led to the arrest of Watson. Watkins works at Park Road Baptist and police had a description of a car they believed the suspect was driving. While she was at work, Watkins looked out into the church parking lot and saw that suspect car and called police.
Watkins later said she was glad to have it all over, not only for herself but for other potential victims.
“Just constantly having to look over your shoulder. I’m relieved, I am,” she said.