Los Angeles: Members of the Inter-Agency House of Worship Task Force have made an arrest in a series of intentionally set fires and acts of vandalism targeting houses of worship in various Southern California communities. Christian Michael Garcia, 25, was arrested on Thursday, January 25th, 2018, for suspicion of arson and vandalism, by personnel from LAPD Major Crimes Division and Criminal Conspiracy Section along with LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section Investigators and Pasadena Fire and Police Department Arson Investigators.
The most recent incidents involved an incendiary fire and vandalism at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights and the Church of the Angels located in Pasadena. In addition to the above incidents, multiple other acts of arson and vandalism have occurred at houses of worship in the City and County of Los Angeles over a period of time.
The House of Worship Task Force consists of personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Pasadena Fire Department, Pasadena Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney on Monday, January 29, 2018, for prosecution. Members of the task force will be available to provide more details at a press availability to be scheduled early next week.
"Arson and vandalism targeting houses of worship is a serious crime and we have zero-tolerance for willful acts of destruction in the City of Los Angeles," said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "The destruction of a house of worship not only devastates the affected congregation, but affects the entire community. We will always investigate and prosecute the serious crime of arson to the fullest extent of the law."
"The Collaboration of our Federal and local partners and the tireless work of investigators from the various agencies in the task force, made this arrest possible and is a testament to the productive working relationship, first responders have here in Southern California when a community is threatened by criminal activity," said Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington and Pasadena Police chief Philip Sanchez.
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