HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who was caught on camera breaking into a church and lighting several pews on fire.
The sheriff’s office said the man broke into Incarnation Catholic Church in Town ‘N’ Country Friday around 10:35 p.m. carrying a large bottle.
Video surveillance shows him pouring flammable liquid onto three wooden pews before setting them on fire.
At approximately 10:39, the man escaped through the east entrance. The sheriff’s office said he didn’t steal anything.
Church parishioner George Vargas was devastated by the attack.
“It’s a shame actually. I don’t know why people getting into this, especially now with this pandemic we got going on,” he said. “Instead of doing that we should be together and supporting everybody, but it’s really a shame.”
Sheriff Chad Chronister said the suspect clearly showed no respect for private property or a place of worship.
“We promise this church community we are doing everything we can to capture this suspect and ensure he is held accountable for his actions,” the sheriff said.
Father Michael Cormier addressed the issue with his congregation Sunday and even offered a prayer for the suspect.
“We pray that the Lord will take the hatred out of his heart,” he said.
If you can recognize the man in the video, you’re urged to call the sheriff’s office at 813-247-8118.
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