HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Authorities are looking for a man who started a fire at a Broward County church, causing significant damage.
On Thursday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released video from July 15 showing the man who apparently sneaked onto the grounds of the Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Hollywood and began pouring some kind of accelerant on the ground.
You can see him bend down, pull out a lighter or match, and the screen goes white as the fire sparks into life. Then the man just slowly walks away.
“I don’t know if he was aggravated at maybe some of the groups we use or maybe he had an issue with God, I don’t know,” said Jerry Bennett, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church’s vice-chair. “We have several groups, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) groups that meet here. And I was coming by one night to check on one of the groups and they brought the damage to my attention.”
Fortunately for the church, located at 1925 North State Road 7, the fire burnt itself out pretty quickly, leaving only damage to the outside of the building.
“He wasn’t very good as an arsonist because he bent down right in front of the gasoline to light it and almost caught himself on fire,” Bennett said.
The church has already painted over the scorch marks, but the person responsible is still on the run.
Investigators say he left behind a gas canister and are asking for the public’s help in finding him. ATF is offering a reward of up to $7,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Bennett also has a message for him: “Turn yourself in, do the right thing.”
If you recognize the man in that video, or if you know anything about this that can help find him, call 1-888-283-3473 or 1-877-662-7766.
ARSON AT BROWARD CHURCH— Ian Margol (@IanMargolWPLG) September 24, 2020
Do you know this guy? He set a fire and caused major damage to a church in Hollywood in mid-July. Now the @ATFMiami is looking for him. Know something? Call 1-888-ATF FIRE or 1-877-NO ARSON.
🎥: @ATFMiami @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/RwvXaayTJl