Church Property Damaged After Arson Fire

Church Property Damaged After Arson Fire
By: CJ Cassidy

DEXTER, Mo. - Why would someone set fire to church property?

That's what investigators in Dexter want to know after a suspicious fire destroyed a van and damages a nearby trailer Monday.

Investigators have a person of interest in the case, but so far no arrests.

Officers hope anyone with information comes forward after hearing what church leaders have to say.

A burned out shell is all that's left of a cargo van First Baptist church leaders in Dexter used on mission trips.

"I'm just surprised somebody would destroy property, anybody's property, let alone a church's property," Asst. Pastor Kevin Chenoweth.

He doesn't know if this stemmed from a random act of violence, but he points to one clue that stands out...a gas can.

Church leaders left in the van with gas in it now sits outside.  A can previously hidden out of sight, that most people wouldn't know about.

"It looked like someone broke a window of the van, and pulled out the gas can in the van, and then covered the van with gasoline and lit it on fire. That spread to the trailer sitting next to it," Chenoweth explained.

Still, it's hard for anyone to figure out why this happened, and why the arsonist didn't touch the brand new passenger vans or school bus sitting next to the cargo van.

"We don't have any disgruntled people at the church. But depending on the person, we may press charges. Of course, our first thought would be to help them," he said.

On a positive note, the pastors say they were fully insured so they shouldn't have any problem replacing the vehicles.