Man arrested for Mitchell County church arson

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By: Amy Robinson | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 1, 2018

Kentrez Gardner

CAMILLA, Ga. (WCTV) -- A man has been arrested in connection to a Tuesday morning arson fire and burglary at the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Camilla.

37-year-old Kentrez Gardner, of Norman Park, Georgia, was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon.

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Mitchell County Sheriff W.E. Bozeman, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced the arrest Thursday.

According to investigators, Gardner confessed to burglarizing and setting fire to the church, which caused more than $100,000 in damage.

Officials say Gardner was a former member of the church.

Gardner is being held in the Mitchell County Jail on charges of first-degree arson and burglary.

By: Aubrey Brown | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 31, 2018

CAMILLA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Authorities in Camilla say Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church was "heavily damaged" by a fire Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out at the 63-year-old church on Pinecliff Road around 8:00 a.m.

The office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has determined the fire was an act of arson. Hudgens says several items were missing from the church, and investigators believe the fire was started in an attempt to cover up a burglary.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. Rewards of up to $10,000 may be given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

The Mitchell County Fire Sheriff’s Office and the ATF are assisting with the investigation.

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