Murray United Church was destroyed by fire on Jan. 11, and a Merritt resident has been charged with arson.

Suspect arrested in connection with Merritt-area church fires

Four churches were the target of an arsonist last week, with one completely destroyed

A man was arrested on Jan. 17 in connection with arson and attempted arson at four churches in and around Merritt on Jan. 11.

August David Caprian, 37, of Merritt is in custody and facing three charges of arson, along with a charge of break and enter with intent to commit an offence.

READ MORE: Historic Nicola Valley church destroyed by fire

“[On Thursday] we had obtained some evidence that allowed us to get a search warrant,” said Cst. Tracy Dunsmore of the Merritt RCMP. “We [searched] a home in the Merritt area and obtained further evidence which allowed us to make an arrest.

“[The suspect is] currently in custody and just awaiting to appear in court. He’ll be transported to Kamloops provincial court this afternoon where he’ll make an appearance and then further court dates will be set after that.”

Dunsmore added that at this point police believe there was only one person involved in all four cases.

Court records show that Caprian has a prior criminal record for theft under $5,000, assault, and break and enter. Police have not yet identified a motive behind the recent arson attacks.

Three of the churches—Crossroads Community Church in Merritt and the Anglican and Roman Catholic chuches on the Scw’exmx (Shackan) Reserve—sustained minor damage, but Murray United Church on Highway 5A in the Nicola Valley was completely destroyed.

The church, which was built in 1876, was the first Protestant church in the Interior of B.C. and the oldest building in the Nicola Valley. It was refurbished last year, and while it had not been open for regular services since 1957, special services and events were still held there. The church was also open to visitors in the summer, with students providing guided tours of the church and grounds.

A decision on whether or not to rebuild Murray United Church has yet to be made. The church was not insured.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Technology allows TNRD residents to see the heat

A new library program allows residents to borrow a thermal imaging camera and check for heat loss

Are you a victim of the thermostat wars?

The battle over the thermostat is quite heated in many households.

Community Income Tax volunteers will be at local libraries to help with tax returns

Lower-income singles and families can take advantage of free tax return service

Local News Briefs: Free Family Day weekend movie at the HUB

Plus an ice fishing derby, a Fancy Schmancy Tea Party, the Million Dollar Bursary is back, and more.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

B.C. pot giant Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

Most Read