Arsonists target 7th church in St. Louis

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Arsonists targeted another church overnight in north St. Louis.

Around 1:45a.m., someone set fire to the entrance of the Shrine of St. Joseph Catholic Church on north 11th Street at Biddle.

The fire burned the front doorway of the rectory at the historic church that was built by the Jesuits in 1843. This is the seventh arson attack at churches in north St. Louis City and County in the past two weeks.

Chief Dennis Jenkerson says the damage is very similar. He calls it "very, very disturbing."

According to Chief Sam Dotson, whoever is responsible for this fire did some research. He believes they scouted the area and knew they could get in and out without possibly being seen. He says the rectory is a secluded area that doesn't have video cameras.

The reward had grown for information leading to an arrest in the string of arson cases. It's now at $9,000 thanks to an additional $5,000 from the Missouri Fire Marshal's office.

Firefighters hit the streets Wednesday, handing out flyers in hopes of generating tips. Police have also stepped up patrols.

The Archdioceses of St. Louis has released this statement about the fire.

The recent rash of church fires in St. Louis are saddening acts of violence in a community already devastated by violence and division. The fire Thursday morning at the Shrine of St. Joseph marks the second Catholic Church in St. Louis to have been targeted, after St. Augustine was hit last week.

It is unimaginable why these acts of violence have taken place at churches which are vitally important parts of our community. The doors of St. Augustine and the Shrine of St. Joseph can be replaced. We are thankful that no one was injured in these incidents. We will pray for and forgive those who have committed these acts.

If you have any information in this case please call CrimeStoppers at  1-866-371-TIPS (8477) or visit stlrcs.org.