Merritt man arrested in connection to string of church arsons

Click to play video: 'Two Merritt churches hit by arson'
Two Merritt churches hit by arson
WATCH: Two Merritt churches hit by arson (Aired: Jan. 11, 2018) – Jan 11, 2019

Merritt RCMP said they’ve made an arrest in a series of arsons targeting churches last week.

“[On Thursday] we had obtained some evidence that allowed us to get a search warrant,” said Cst. Tracy Dunsmore with the Merritt RCMP. “We [searched] a home in the Merritt area and obtained further evidence which allowed us to make an arrest.”

August David Caprian, 37, of Merritt remains in custody and is facing three charges of arson along with a charge of break and enter with intent to commit an offence.

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Court records show he has a prior criminal record for theft under $5,000, assault and break and enter.

Two churches in Merritt, including the historic 143-year-old Murray United Church, were set on fire early last Friday.

RCMP said they later learned of two other churches in nearby Shulus, one of them abandoned, which also showed signs of break-in and arson.

The Murray church was reduced to a chimney and foundations, while the Crossroads Community Church in Merritt suffered less severe damage from a small fire.

“They’ve had people in working all week, I know they sustained some fire and smoke damage, some water damage,” Dunsmore said.

“The Murray church, I’m not sure how you would value a historical church like that.”

Police are not speaking to a potential motive.

He was slated to appear in a Kamloops court on Friday.

— with files from Sean Boynton and Jordan Armstrong

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