Police looking for arsonist targeting Mesa churches

MESA, AZ - Police are investigating a possible hate crime, after someone started six separate fires at four Mesa churches. 

The fires began in the Fiesta District in May, where fires occurred May 11, 17 and 18 at Mesa Baptist Church.

Pastor Mark Rice said a stack of bibles were set on fire and left by the back door. 

Less than a week later, a similar crime occurred but this time the arsonist carved "Hail Satan" in the backdoor. 

Fires occurred on June 14 at East Mesa Christian Church, June 20 at Pilgrim Lutheran Church and July 7 at Calvary Baptist Church.

“I think evil is growing and Satan has always been alive and seeking to destroy Jesus Christ's Message,” said Rice.

Mesa police want the public to be aware of these cases to help catch the person responsible. 

“With these types of crimes,” said Sgt. Diana Williams. “A message is sent. They're happening at a place of worship and there's a bible being burned.  Now what the message is exactly  -- only the suspect or suspects will know that.”

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