Suspects in mission break-in face federal charges

Damage to Mission San Juan 'minimal'

SAN ANTONIO - Federal charges have been filed against two suspects accused of breaking into Mission San Juan Capistrano.

John Lujan, superintendent of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, said a ringing burglar alarm alerted San Antonio Park Police to the situation around 8 p.m. Thursday.

They caught a man and woman, identified as David John Morales, 21, and Jackie Ann Nervais, 21, both of San Antonio, inside a building next door to the mission’s church, he said.

“They appeared to be looking for cash,” Lujan said. “They were rifling through drawers and whatnot.”

Instead, the two suspects were placed into handcuffs and arrested. They face federal charges because the mission is part of a national park, federally protected property.

Lujan said although the damage is “minimal,” the break-in is another example of how nothing is sacred when it comes to criminals.

Twice last year, Mission San Juan became the target of vandals. 

In January, someone spray painted graffiti on the sides of its buildings as well as on signs. Then, in September, vandals used a knife or other sharp tool to carve symbols on its walls.

"It's just unfortunate,” Lujan said. “It's one of those things to where I don't think people really understand the cultural significance of these 250-year-old missions that we preserve and protect everyday."

Lujan said he believes the remote location, off S. Presa Rd. near SE Military, is part of the reason Mission San Juan repeatedly has become a target.


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