Pastor has man arrested for sleeping at church (but not during sermon), police say

Pastor has man arrested for sleeping at church (but not during sermon), police say

(As originally published, Wed, January 24th 2024)

WILDWOOD, Fla. (TND) — A call about a man trespassing at a church led to a patrolman finding and arresting a man who was asleep.

Ralph Wainwright’s arrest report from Florida on the morning of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday said he was “sleeping behind the church, underneath the walkway of the rear building.”

According to the arrest report, “The defendant was previously warned by the church pastor that he was not to be on the property, and was asked to leave.

“The defendant returned to the property several different times and was reminded that he could not be there.”

It was noted on the afternoon of Jan. 4, “Officers made contact with the defendant and was given a verbal warning of trespass by church staff and [a sergeant].”

This time, “A church representative arrived on the scene shortly after and was provided and signed a witness statement form, and an intent to prosecute slip.

“The church representative stated they have asked the defendant to leave the property several times.

Pastor has man arrested for sleeping at church (but not during sermon), police say
Ralph Wainwright, wanted in 3 states, was arrested for trespassing, Jan. 15, 2024. (Sumter Co. Sheriff’s Office)

“He further stated that Wildwood Police Department has been out to the church to remove the defendant from the property twice.”

The report said Wainwright admitted, “He was told by the pastor he could not be there.

“The defendant further stated he did speak with [the sergeant] in reference to the trespass but was never issued a trespass or paperwork.

“I advised the defended a verbal warning of trespass is sufficient, and he would be arrested for trespass after warning.”

Wainwright was taken away from Live Oak Community Church and booked at 9 a.m., and he’s still being held.

The 42-year-old Baltimore native, identified by his South Carolina identification card, is wanted by authorities in Ohio; Monroe, Mich.; and Lawrenceville, Ga.

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