HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County deputies have arrested the man they say broke into a Town ‘n’ Country church last month and set several pews on fire.
The suspect, identified by deputies as 45-year-old Eugenio Rodriguez-Colina, was charged Wednesday evening with burglary and arson of the Incarnation Catholic Church.
Deputies say Rodriguez-Colina broke into the church on Sept. 18 and set multiple pews on fire.
Four days later on Sept. 22, surveillance video caught Rodriguez-Colina stealing food and cigarettes from the Granada Meat Market, located at 8230 W Waters Ave., after he smashed the glass front door to gain entry.
Rodriguez-Colina was arrested Monday for shoplifting at a Walmart, located at 8220 N Dale Mabry Highway.
He is being charged with criminal mischief while wearing a mask, arson, armed burglary for the incarnation offense, and burglary while wearing a mask, criminal mischief, and petit theft for the Meat Market offense.
“Houses of worship are such special places in our community, and we will never tolerate this type of criminal behavior,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “I am thankful that through good detective work and the collaboration of multiple agencies we have taken this individual off of our streets so that he can no longer wreak havoc in Hillsborough County.”
Rodriguez-Colina was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The Hillsborough County Fire Marshal’s Office, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all helped with the investigation.
Below is a statement from Diocese of St. Petersburg regarding the incident:
“While arson and other acts of vandalism are not to be condoned, especially when it involves a sacred space, such as a church, synagogue or mosque, our faith reminds us to love our neighbor, and to pray for the conversion of those who carry out such acts of desecration. We ask that the Lord will bring healing and peace to the person who started the fire.”
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