Cops: Man robbed church for oil change

SNELLVILLE - The notion of hallowed ground apparently goes out the window when it comes to the high price of oil.

Or oil changes.

A Loganville man arrested for snatching a church's cashbox and running away told police he did so to fund a pricey oil change for his 1998 Mercedes Benz, police said.

Eric Anthony Comrie, 20, said his reasoning behind the snatch-and-grab heist is that he's been unemployed for 10 months, and his car was thirsty for an oil swap costing four times what's normal, police said.

"He said, 'Do you know how much it costs to get an oil change on a Mercedes?'" said Snellville police Detective Tim Colgan. "I told him he was going to hell for robbing a church."

A service representative at Mercedes Benz of Atlanta said a standard oil change on most models will set drivers back $130. Basic service packages run between $300 and $500.

"No, I wouldn't rob a church" to cover the cost, she said.

Police said Comrie worked in tandem with his girlfriend, Brianna Williams, 17, to attempt the robbery at First Baptist Church in Snellville.

As worshippers finished dinner at a Wednesday night service, Comrie allegedly snagged a cashbox containing $913, ran out the door and drove to a gas station around the corner, where his girlfriend waited in his Mercedes, police said.

The duo tried to swap cars to throw police off, but officers recognized the car Comrie fled in and busted his girlfriend immediately, Colgan said. She clued police in as to where they might find the alleged robber, who had fled home to Loganville, he said.

Police arrested Comrie about five hours later when they found his car in a church parking lot near his Wrenwood Court home. He surrendered without incident, Colgan said.

Comrie remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond, charged with robbery and obstruction. Williams, also charged with robbery, posted $5,700 bond Thursday.

The arrest was Comrie's second within a week. He had posted $558 bond on shoplifting charges and was released from jail three days prior to the alleged church robbery, jail records show.

Colgan said "every bit" of the $913 has been recovered. The money has been filed as evidence but will eventually be turned over to the church, he said.

The detective was unsure if Comrie was a member of the church, or why he allegedly targeted that congregation.

A First Baptist official did not return a call Friday seeking comment.