Shoe Prints, Video, Informant Led Authorities To Arson Suspects

| February 22, 2010

Documents released this afternoon detail information that led authorities to two men believed to have burned 10 houses of worship over the past few months.

According to arrest affidavits in the cases against 19-year-old Jason Robert Bourque and 21-year-old Daniel George McAllister, a confidential informant, video surveillance, boot and shoe prints and an assisting family member contributed to the arrests of the two men.

The affidavits by Texas Ranger Sgt. Brent Davis state fire investigators found a boot print on a door kicked in at the Dover Baptist Church on Feb. 8 which matched boot prints found at other East Texas church fires during the two-month arson spree.

Besides the boot print, which Davis said belonged to a Red Wing boot, investigators also found a rock inside the nursery entrance used to gain entry into the building.

Video surveillance taken from the R. Tiger Express Exxon at Texas Highway 110 and Interstate 20 showed Bourque and McAllister at the location at the same time the fire in the Dover church was discovered.

Additional video surveillance showed Bourque at another convenience store located close to the Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church, which was also set on fire the same night as the Dover church.

Davis said witnesses reported a dark-colored, four-door type vehicle parked next to a storage building at the Clear Springs church shortly before the fire broke out.

“On Feb. 11, BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agents made contact with Jason Bourque at his residence… BATFE agents were following up on a tip received from a cooperating informant that stated Jason Bourque was involved in burning several churches in East Texas,” the affidavit reads.

Davis stated while agents were talking with Bourque in the garage at his home they observed a pair of muddy Sketcher tennis shoes consistent with shoe prints found at several of the church fire scenes.

Agents also looked at Bourque's vehicle, a 2008 blue Ford Focus.

Davis stated he showed a member of McAllister's family a boot that the family member said matched the sole and size of McAllister's boot.

The same family member told police they had taken McAllister to the Greyhound bus station in Dallas where the suspect purchased a one-way ticket to San Antonio on Feb. 10.

Bourque and McAllister have been charged with one count of first-degree arson, but investigators have said they believe the pair could be charged with nine additional arsons as the investigation continues.

Both men remain in the Smith County Jail on $10 million bonds each.

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Category: Church Security

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