Ripley man charged with arson of church, pawnshop

By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel

RIPLEY – A Ripley man is charged with burglarizing a church and trying to set it afire earlier this month. That investigation led to charges of burglarizing Cotton’s Pawn Shop and setting a fire that destroyed the business earlier this year, authorities said this week.

Tippah County Chief Deputy Chris McCallister said David Wayne Barnes, 36, is charged with burglary of a church, attempted arson, felon in possession of a weapon – a set of brass knuckles – and possession of burglary tools.

Barnes is accused of breaking into the Falkner Baptist Church Sunday night, April 8 or the next morning, stealing cash and other items, then setting the edges of a carpet afire. The fire quickly went out.

When Barnes was arrested, officers recovered pawnshop items that were originally believed destroyed. That led Police Investigator Scott Watson to charge Barnes with the arson of the business, and also burglarizing it.

Barnes is currently being held on $60,000 bond, according to Tippah County Jail records.