Wade on Birmingham

Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Matthew Cloyd, Russell DeBusk and Benjamin Moseley


In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

Matthew Cloyd, Russell DeBusk and Benjamin Moseley

Matthew CloydRussell DeBuskBenjamin Moseley

Positions held: college students

Wanted for: arson, burglary, conspiracy

Date of conviction: Dec. 20, 2006

Sentence: 8 years in federal prison for Cloyd and Moseley, 7 years in federal prison for DeBusk; 2 years in state prison for all three men; $3.1 million in restitution; 300 hours of community service at the churches

Criminally fun fact: Cloyd and Moseley went on a two-night drunken arson spree in February 2006 that destroyed or damaged nine rural Alabama churches. DeBusk took part on the first night. The three said it started as a joke that escalated out of control. Two firefighters were injured while putting out one of the fires.

DeBusk and Moseley were students at Birmingham-Southern College, while Cloyd had transferred from there to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Birmingham-Southern established the Alabama Churches Rebuilding and Restoration Fund, which distributed more than $368,000 to the churches.

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Additional reading:

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7 Yips for “Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Matthew Cloyd, Russell DeBusk and Benjamin Moseley”

  1. Sarah
    Friday, November 19, 2010, 6:07 pm

    Shame on you! Russel is no crook! He did something wrong, but remember that he only went out the first night. The next day, he was so sick that he didn’t go to class. Also, the Bible teaches us not to judge others. So stop!

  2. Wade
    Friday, November 19, 2010, 8:30 pm

    My judgment or nonjudgment doesn’t change DeBusk’s criminal status. Live with it.

  3. james
    Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:16 pm

    they got off easy 2 boys in east texas just got multible life sentences for 10 church arsons in a 5 weeks

  4. Ken
    Sunday, September 4, 2011, 10:59 am

    These guys are such big losers. I read that one of them shot a cow also. I’m glad they are in jail.

  5. Chris
    Thursday, September 22, 2011, 10:12 am

    They get what they deserve. I went to high school with one of them, it was sad how he always tried to fit in that he would do almost anything for people to notice him. They should get longer then just 8 years.

  6. Robert
    Sunday, November 13, 2011, 1:27 am

    I read online that all three are Jewish if so why no mention of that?

  7. Wade
    Sunday, November 13, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Because you should’nt believe everything you read online.

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