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Reward now being offered in Church arson case

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CORY-- Anyone with information about the suspects involved in a fire set at Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church could earn some money.

Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Gambill told The Brazil Times Tuesday that church officials were offering a reward.

The reward is being offered through the Bishop's Office of the South Indiana Annual Conference of United Methodist Churches (SIAC) for up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person(s) involved in the fire.

According to information provided by the CCSD, shortly after 7 a.m., July 9, a caller reported to 911 dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center there was a fire at the more than 145-year-old church located at the intersection of County Road 200 North and County Road 250 West. Firefighters saw flames on the cellar roof over a portion of the basement area behind the church when they arrived.

Although the shingles were on fire, members of the Cory Township and Center Point Township Volunteer Fire Departments quickly contained the blaze within 20 minutes.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security Division of Fire and Building Safety have determined the fire to be "suspicious" and that it was intentionally set.

Because there have been several suspicious fires investigated in the areas of Posey, Perry, Jackson and Sugar Ridge Townships in Clay County the past several months, the SIAC wanted to help.

"The conference doesn't normally do this type of thing, but we wanted to support the church and the surrounding community during this difficult time," SIAC Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator Rev. David Powell said about the reward. "And we hope that the person involved in this (once incarcerated) will get the help they need while they are off the street."

Gambill said people should not be afraid to report what they think might be insignificant pieces of information about the ongoing investigation because "many cases have been solved by the smallest of details."

"People need to understand, that to get the reward, they need to leave their name and contact information when reporting information," Gambill said. "They can leave tips on the hotline or call the sheriff's department."

To report information about this case, or any other, contact the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 812-446-2535 or by using the Arson Reporting Hot Line at 1-800-382-4628.

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