Pair of Suspects Nabbed in Calif. Church Fire; Damages Estimated at $500,000

June 28, 2005

John Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), recently announced the arrest of two minors in connection with the June 5 fire at the Palm Baptist Church in Riverside.

The Riverside Arson Task Force took the two into custody on state criminal charges of arson of a structure and burglary. The task force’s investigation continues into other possible criminal violations committed by the juveniles.

The early-morning fire at the Palm Baptist Church, which had been deliberately set, caused about $500,000 damage to a two-story classroom building. The Riverside City Arson Task Force, comprised of ATF special agents, Riverside City Fire Department and the Riverside Police Department, responded and conducted an extensive investigation.

Information ATF received through its 1-888-ATF-FIRE hotline provided a direct lead to the suspects. On June 6, ATF offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the individuals responsible for the church fire.

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