Reward For Arsonist Info Up To $25,000

| February 9, 2010

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the recent string of church fires in East Texas has now been raised to $25,000.

Clay Alexander, Tyler Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the reward has been raised from $10,000 to $25,000 in hopes it will help authorities stop the church arsons which began last year across the area.

Alexander said the two fires that struck the Dover Baptist Church on Texas Highway 110 north and the Clear Springs Missionary Baptist Church Monday night along with two other break-ins at churches nearby were factors in the increase.

“The fact is that the general public is how we are going to catch this person. We need any and all information that someone may have or think they have in regard to these fires,” he said.

Alexander said the East Texas Church Fire Task Force is meeting this morning in Athens to discuss the case and share information.

“We're all spread out so we are getting together to share all the information we have in all of these cases,” he said.

The Monday night fires were the latest in a string of fires that have plagued the area beginning in October. Since Jan. 1, there have been a total of nine churches burn and investigators are chasing hundreds of leads in hopes of catching the suspect.

Alexander said law enforcement and fire departments need to stress to their community churches to be vigilant and watchful over their properties to keep from becoming a victim.

He suggested leaving lights on and if at all possible hiring private security or at the very least having church members take shifts to make sure someone was always at the church.

Alexander stressed that if someone sees a person acting suspicious around a church to not confront them but instead call 911 immediately.

“Do not confront this person. This person burning these churches is a serial arsonist and we feel anyone who would burn a church like this should be considered extremely dangerous,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the task force at 903-675-0061 and 903-675-0062 or the ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE.

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Category: Church Security

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