A Charlotte pastor and another man have been arrested in connection to robbing multiple businesses around the city, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
John Thomas Lindsey, 47, who is a pastor at True Love Church of Refuge, was taken into custody on Wednesday, Jan. 4. He is charged with nine counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, nine counts of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Officers said Lindsey's accomplice, identified as Fernando Carrillo-Hernandez, 24, was taken into custody on Tuesday, Jan. 3. He is charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Both Lindsey and Carrillo-Hernandez are being held at the Mecklenburg County Jail.
During the course of the investigation, CMPD said Carrillo-Hernandez was identified as one of the suspects in this case. Following an interview with Carrillo-Hernandez on Tuesday police determined Lindsey as the second suspect.
The two suspects are connected to at least five reported armed robberies.
The first occurred on Dec. 21, 2016 at the Circle K located at 7035 E. WT Harris Boulevard. The second armed robbery happened a day later on Dec. 22, 2016 at the Circle K located at 5018 Sunset Road.
The third armed robbery occurred on Dec. 25, 2016 at the 7-Eleven located at 1824 Freedom Drive. The fourth incident happened on Dec. 27, 2016 at the Circle K located at 7301 The Plaza. The fifth reported armed robbery happened the same day, Dec. 27, 2016 at the Circle K located at 9501 University City Boulevard.
Anyone with additional information concerning these cases or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.
Statement from True Love Church of Refuge:
"We, the leadership and membership of True Love Church of Refuge, are deeply saddened and disappointed that our leader and brother, John Thomas Lindsey, is facing charges associated with criminal activity.
Though we denounce any involvement he may have had, we love him and will continue to pray for him. The ministry will continue to stand strong despite the latest allegations and will continue to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom."
A night service at the church scheduled for Wednesday evening was canceled "due to unforeseen circumstances", according to the organizations's Facebook page.