Couple accused of South Whidbey church burglary

A man and woman are facing charges for allegedly stealing from a South Whidbey church last week, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged Ernest W. Zelnick, 24, and Margaret C. Schwantes, 43, in Island County Superior Court Nov. 28 with burglary in the second degree and theft in the third degree.

A deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a burglary at the Christian Life Center in Freeland Nov. 21. Two people entered the church and stole money, food and small electronics, the police report states.

A church employee told the deputy that the security system had captured a close-up video of a man as he was unplugging a camera; the system also captured the sound of a woman’s voice, the report states.

In addition, a custodian who worked at the church reported seeing a small blue hatchback car in the church parking lot.

The image of the suspect was distributed throughout the department and another deputy identified him as Zelnick, the deputy wrote. The deputy also said Zelnick lives in a small blue hatchback with his girlfriend, Schwantes.

The deputies found the car parked in Freeland and arrested Zelnick on suspicion of burglary. The deputies also contacted Schwantes at her work; she allegedly admitted that she was with Zelnick in the church because they were looking for food, the report states.

If convicted of the charges against them, Zelnick and Schwantes could face up to 364 days in jail under the standard sentencing range.

More in News

Islanders help victims of Kilauea

Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, landslides. And now, two Whidbey Islanders add volcano recovery… Continue reading

Field carrier landing practice schedule — Aug. 13-19

Aircraft carrier-based flight training operations are scheduled at Ault Field through Aug.… Continue reading

Photo by Jim Christensen.
                                The rented canoe is hauled ashore at a stopping point.
Man takes canoe trip of a lifetime

Jim Christensen’s summer vacation means getting away to the remote woodlands of… Continue reading

Photo by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group
                                Peggie Suess will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Aug. 22. She sits here at Summer Hill Senior Living, ready for the day’s Bingo game.
Oak Harbor woman celebrates her 100th birthday on Aug. 22

On Aug. 22, Peggie Suess will celebrate her 100th birthday. The celebration… Continue reading

Whidbey residents on OSU scholastic honor roll

Students who made the scholastic honor roll spring term 2018 have been… Continue reading

Pigfest awaiting word from Guinness on largest BBQ pit

Scott Fraser’s goal for this year’s Pigfest was to have the world’s… Continue reading

SAR rescues climber

A Search and Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island rescued… Continue reading

Oak Harbor adopts six-year transportation plan

Preliminary steps on improvements to Northeast Seventh Avenue are set to move… Continue reading

Most Read