Botched Church Robbery Leads Cops to Alleged Killer

Parishioners chased shotgun-wielding man
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2013 1:02 PM CST
Botched Church Robbery Leads Cops to Alleged Killer
This police handout photo shows Billy Varner.   (Antioch Police via CBS)

(Newser) – Billy Varner has an odd idea of keeping a low profile. The 54-year-old Chicago-area man was wanted in connection with the deaths of his mother and girlfriend, but that didn't stop him from allegedly walking into a Catholic Church in the middle of Saturday evening mass wielding a shotgun and attempting to rob the place, the Lake County News-Sun reports. To be fair, the church was in Williston, ND, almost 1,000 miles away from his home in Antioch, Ill. But it turns out he'd picked the wrong church to mess with.

"The parishioners in the church chased him out and gave a good description," Antioch's police chief said in a press conference. "The suspect fled the scene, and several church goers followed." This strange chase ended when police "intercepted" Varner's tan conversion van and arrested him "without incident." They soon learned that he was wanted for questioning, and Varner was today charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Dorothy Varner, 82, and Peggy Henderson, 61. As for the cause of death, police will only say that it was "suspicious," reports the Chicago Tribune. (Read more robbery stories.)

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