Police swarmed a University Heights neighborhood Monday night after someone reported seeing a suspicious person at a Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall which has been plagued by recent arson attacks and vandalism.
Police and firefighters were called to the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall on Adams Avenue around 8 p.m. after a security guard reported seeing a silhouette on the roof and smelled something burning.
Police did not arrest a suspect and firefighters believe the charred material was probably in the dumpster from previous attempts.
The neighborhood is on high alert as the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall has been the target of several hate crimes and arson attacks.
“It’s kind of become an obsession, watching over the church for me, because if the church goes up in smoke, our house would surely be next and we’d be devastated,” said Neighbor Elizabeth Kraycik.
Just last week someone pried the word “Jehovah” off the building. The intruder allegedly poured gasoline inside the building and tried to set it on fire. The fire did not ignite, possibly because there was so much gasoline and very few items inside to catch on fire, according to firefighters.
In another incident, a vandal wrote "666” on the building.
The suspect has not been caught and neighbors are extremely concerned.
“I expect them to come back, which is why I haven’t let my guard down. I think that they now have an ego about it and they’re not going to let it go until they succeed,” said Kraycik.
The Metro Arson Strike Team is investigating.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction in the case. If you have any information, you're urged to call Crime Stoppers.
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