A Bonners Ferry man has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bonners Ferry, which was completely destroyed in the blaze in April.
Shane Rucker, 33, was arrested Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted him for destruction of religious property and using fire to damage or destroy religious property. He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison if he is convicted of the charges, according to The Spokesman Review.
The arson is being prosecuted under the Church Arson Prevention Act, which was passed by Congress in 1996 in response to numerous fires set at black churches in the South.
The church, which had recently been renovated, was attended by about 150 families. The congregation has been using the a nearby United Methodist church for worship.
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Investigators determined that the fire was set in three places in the church’s basement. The fire happened less than two months after St. Ann’s and Trinity Lutheran Church were vandalized, according to The Spokesman Review.
Rucker has long been considered a person of interest in the case. Until recently he was in jail awaiting trial on burglary charges. He was recently sentenced to time served on reduced charges of unlawful entry and petit theft. He has cases pending for possession of a controlled substance and violation of a domestic violence protection order.