Masked Man Sets Catholic Church on Fire in Florida

Masked Man Sets Catholic Church on Fire in Florida
A masked man sets fire to a Catholic church in Town 'N' Country, Fla., on Sept. 18, 2020. (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)
Zachary Stieber

A masked man was caught on camera setting a Catholic church on fire in Florida, officials said.

Surveillance footage showed the man, who was shirtless, burglarizing Incarnation Catholic Church in Town ’N’ Country late Sept. 18.

The suspect broke into the church by smashing a glass pane at approximately 10:36 p.m. before committing the crimes, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Video showed the man pouring flammable liquid onto three wooden pews. He lit the pews on fire. Then, he fled the scene.

Sheriff deputies responded to the church, along with a Hillsborough Fire Marshal fire investigator and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal agency.

Anyone with information was urged to contact the authorities.

“We are working to identify this criminal who broke into one of Town ‘N’ Country’s most popular Catholic Churches and caused thousands of dollars in damages,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.

“While we are unsure of his motive, it is clear he has no respect for private property of the fact that this is a sacred place of worship. We promise this church’s community we are doing everything we can to capture this suspect and ensure he is held accountable for his actions,” the sheriff added.

Town ‘n’ Country, with about 80,000 residents, is located just outside Tampa.