Police Arrest Teenager, Seek Second for Pennsylvania Church Fire

TYRONE, Pa. (AP) -- Police were seeking a 16-year-old boy in connection with a deliberately set fire that swept through a 92-year-old church.

Another suspect, a 17-year-old boy, already turned himself in and was charged with arson, burglary and related counts, borough Police Chief Joseph Beachem said Monday.

A police officer discovered the fire at the Christ United Methodist Church while on patrol at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Several dollars were taken from a collection plate, but robbery doesn't appear to be a motive, Beachem said.

''I can't really get a handle on it other than the thrill of setting it on fire,'' Beachem said. ''It's a sad commentary.''

It's uncertain whether the building can be used again, the Rev. Dennis Reedy said.

Beachem said the boys lived in Tyrone but did not worship at the church. He declined to release their names because they are minors.

He added that the 16-year-old boy was still likely in the Tyrone area. Police hoped that friends and family would convince the boy to turn himself into authorities.

The teens broke a window and entered church property through a school window, and police linked at least one of the teens using blood and footprints at the scene, Beachem said.

The fire was started at the pulpit, on which a liquid was poured and set ablaze.

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