Russell Congleton was taken into custody shortly before 8 a.m. near Lankershim Boulevard and Riverside Drive after someone recognized him from a flyer and called police. He is accused of getting into into St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church last week and starting a fire.
Los Angeles police got a call just before 5 a.m. Wednesday that someone broke into the church. Because of the extensive damage done near the altar, all masses were canceled.
The church is a well-known landmark in the San Fernando Valley. Neighbors refer to it as the church Hollywood legend Bob Hope and his wife Dolores built. Their funeral masses were held at the location.
"There were some statues damaged. There were some stained glass windows broken. Significant damage and we're just trying to get to the bottom of it," Sgt. Barry Montgomery said.
Even though investigators did not call the act a hate crime, the house of worship task force was called to the investigation, which included the FBI.