Man charged in series of church fires, vandalism that happened across the Southland

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A man was charged with 22 counts of vandalism and arson, some of which carry the allegation of a hate crime, for setting fire to churches around Southern California, authorities said. (KABC)

A man was charged with 22 counts of vandalism and arson, some of which carry the allegation of a hate crime, for setting fire to churches around Southern California, authorities said.

Christian Michael Garcia, 25, was arrested Friday as he was about to vandalize another church, authorities said.

Authorities said Garcia hit several houses of worship in a 24-hour period.

"He was literally caught red-handed and because of that this will be a strong prosecution and one we look forward to pursuing vigorously," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.

There was evidence of vandalism at a church, where one statue was knocked over and another had its face painted green. The House of Worship Task Force was able to track Garcia down.

"He has been charged today with 22 counts of vandalism and arson, 20 of which carry hate crime additions. That is significant. That will result in a short-term of 20 years behind bars, a long-term of 80," Beck said.
Related Topics:
hate crimechurch firechurchvandalismarsonarrestBoyle HeightsLos Angeles CountyLos AngelesPasadenaSouthern California
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