MONROE, N.C. -- Monroe police arrested a man accused of robbing church goers at gunpoint during a New Year's Eve service.

Police charged 27-year-old Scottavais Lorenzo Hailey with five counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon after he entered the New Life Church of God off of Engleside Street and robbed several church goers at gunpoint.

Hailey, who lives just four blocks away, entered the church around 9 p.m. on December 31 wearing a mask and carrying a unique sawed off long rifle, witnesses told police.

Hailey never said anything, but just pointed the rifle at several people, grabbed five purses containing miscellaneous items and cash and then ran out of the church, according to police.

One witness to the crime told NBC Charlotte about the terrifying experience in an interview last month.

He never said a word. He just stared, taking the purses and the bags from the chairs, Claudia Bernal said.

Officials say someone later tried to dispose of the gun but it was later found and victims confirmed that was the weapon used during the incident before tracing it back to Hailey.

Hailey was arrested Monday night and is in the Union County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

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