Sledgehammering Your Way into a Church: Ocean's 14, Your Script Is Ready

The road to riches begins with a good sledgehammer.
It's like a potential script for Ocean's 14, except that instead of glitzy casinos you have a ramshackle church, and in place of an incredibly complicated and time-sensitive scheme that relies heavily on the latest in high-tech computer technology, you have one very confused guy with a sledgehammer.

So yeah, maybe the script needs a tweak here or there.

Don't tell that to criminal mastermind Justin Edwin Wingate, 45. Somehow -- and no doubt it will take months of study by the finest scientific minds we have to determine why -- Wingate's "sledgehammer the church" plot failed, as did his escape plan, which involved climbing up and hiding on top of some fragile ceiling tiles.

Wingate is charged with burglary of a business in connection with his breaking into the Templo Hermosa Church, on the southwest side of town in the 6400 block of Willow Bend Boulevard.

Police say Wingate put his plot in motion around 3 a.m. Saturday. He managed to bang his way through the brick wall of the church, which takes up a former strip mall, but parishioners soon arrived in response to a burglar alarm.

HPD narrates the thrilling, fast-paced, damn near heroic confrontation between the cool-as-a-cucumber burglar and his pursuers:

[Parishioners] discovered Wingate in the church office. Initially, he attempted to flee through the ceiling tiles; however, he abandoned that attempt and was held by parishioners until police arrived. Once in police custody, Wingate began to complain he was not feeling well.

(Only George Clooney could pull off "I have a tummy ache" in that situation, so producers will need to sign him up for 14.)

Paramedics took Wingate to a hospital (once they had untied him from the rope and electrical wiring parishioners had used to hold him), and he's now in jail for the break-in and the taking of several musical instruments. Police believe others were involved in the plot and ask anyone with tips to contact the HPD Burglary and Theft Division at 713-308-0900.

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