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Arsonist hits Maylene church, causes ‘minor’ damagecomment (0)

October 30, 2008

Alabaster police have charged a Calera man with setting fire to Community Baptist Church, Maylene, in Shelby Baptist Association, as well as burglarizing another church.

The suspect, 24-year-old Matthew Cassenta, also is expected to face charges for the burglaries of three other churches and a store in other jurisdictions, according to The Birmingham News. Cassenta allegedly broke into a church in Alabaster and attempted to break into Community Baptist but set fire to it instead when he couldn’t get in, causing “minor damage,” the News reported.

The arsonist “apparently stacked the trashcans against the side of our existing education building and set them afire,” said music minister Dave Miller, noting that burning cardboard was placed at one of the rear doors of the new building as well. “We were, in the words of several of our members and Brother Bo (Brown, Community Baptist’s pastor), very fortunate for God to have protected His house as He did.”

Brown noted, too, that it offered an opportunity for church members to offer special prayer for the area and reminded them that they will face spiritual warfare as they reach out to the community.

Ryan Baptist Church, Maylene, in Shelby Association was also among those churches that were burglarized. Authorities believe all of the break-ins took place between 3 and 5 a.m. Oct. 23, according to the News. (TAB)

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