Updated:SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —
A man who is accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of copper wire claims to be a sovereign citizen and says the law doesn't apply to him.
Deputies said Marc Stanley, 43, tried to break into the building where the new East Coast Believers Church will sit at the corner of Aloma Avenue and Dean Road. But when he didn't get into the building, investigators said he targeted the light poles in the parking lot instead.
The Seminole County Sheriff's Office said the theft could have been much worse if Stanley had made his way into the 50,000-square-foot building late Friday night.
Large amounts of sheet metal and expensive construction equipment are stored inside the building, which is under construction.
"Our sanctuary is right behind you. That will seat about 800 people," said Susan Gordon with East Coast Believers Church.
Stanley is facing 43 charges after the Sheriff's Office said he stripped the copper wire from every light pole in the church's future parking lot.
"They felt about $20,000 had been stolen out of the light poles in the parking lot," said Gordon.
According to Stanley's arrest report, he told the deputy who arrested him that he is a sovereign citizen and that "legalese did not apply to him."
"It's very disappointing," said Gordon. "We just feel very thankful that the guy was caught when he did and that he didn't have a chance to come in the building."
Stanley is being held at the Seminole County Jail on no bond.