Members of a Charlotte church are stunned after finding out their pastor was arrested for his role in a string of armed robberies.

Pastor has been arrested in connection to nine armed robberies from Charlotte Businesses.

WSCO reports that 47-year-old John Thomas Lindsey, who is a pastor at True Love Church of Refuge, was taken into custody Wednesday morning and charged with nine counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, nine counts of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Lindsey is being investigated in connection with robberies from two Sam’s Mart stores, two 7-Elevens, a Circle K and a Family Dollar store. Police said he robbed the Family Dollar in northwest Charlotte in October and fired a shot inside.

Sources say drugs were the motive for the robberies. The church released the following statement in response to the allegations:

“We, the leadership and membership of True Love Church of Refuge, are deeply saddened and disappointed that our leader and brother, John Thomas Lindsey, is facing charges associated with criminal activity. Though we denounce any involvement he may have had, we love him and will continue to pray for him. The ministry will continue to stand strong despite the latest allegations and will continue to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.”

Business owners and residents were shocked to discover Lindsey’s involvement in the robberies.

“It’s something you wouldn’t expect from somebody supposedly a religious person,” one man said.

A second man, 24-year-old Fernando Carillo-Hernandez, led police to Lindsey, police said. Carillo-Hernandez was arrested Tuesday and charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Police said he was responsible for the Circle K robberies.