An arsonist and apparent troubled soul has been leaving burning Bibles on the doorsteps of Mesa, Arizona, churches—and now police are investigating the incidents as hate crimes.
According to Mesa Police, the arsonist has struck area churches six times since the middle of May—each time late at night and each time leaving a burning Bible or a burning pile of papers outside the church doors.
Pastor Mark Rice told FOX 10 in Phoenix that it happened twice at his Mesa Baptist Church, but the second time the burning Bible came with a message scratched into the church door: "Hail Satan."
The latest fire occurred at the Calvary Baptist Church in Mesa on July 9.
The fires haven't caused much property damage beyond a scorched and scratched door, and nobody has been injured. Police say that based on the location and manner of the arson incidents they are approaching the cases as a bias crime—but that's pretty much all they have to go on as far as a motive.
"It's a message of some sort, but it's hard to tell what it is," said Mesa Police Sgt. Diana Williams.
Police describe the suspect as a white or Hispanic man in his late teens or early 20's, with an average height and build, wearing knee-length shorts and a short-sleeved shirt with white gym shoes.
So, in summation, if anybody out there in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area happens to see any average-sized white or Hispanic young adult males wearing shorts, short-sleeve shirts and shoes this summer, please be careful—you may have a Satanic arsonist on your hands!
Police are also suggesting that churches in the area make sure their surveillance cameras are working and have night vision capabilities.