Local News

Man Charged With Setting Church Afire

Posted July 12, 2007 11:11 a.m. EDT
Updated July 12, 2007 11:35 a.m. EDT

— A Harnett County man was charged Thursday with setting fire to a church this week and vandalizing property in Coats, authorities said.

William Arnold Parker, 22, of Dunn, has been charged with burning a church building, defacing public property, criminal damage to property and vandalism, authorities said. He is being held in the Harnett County Detention Center on a $20,000 secured bond.

A fire burned the front entrance of Oakdale Baptist Church on Red Hill Church Road near the Johnston-Harnett county line early Monday before burning itself out, authorities said. The fire damaged the front doors and some vinyl siding on the building.

Coats police questioned Arnold about vandalism in the town, and information he provided linked him to the church fire, authorities said.

The church fire was a random act and the building wasn't burned because it was a church, authorities said.

The case remains under investigation, and other charges are possible, authorities said.