Officials continue to investigate attempted arson at Accomack County church

Posted at 8:52 PM, Feb 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-14 20:52:56-05

A church was charred with burns in an attempted arson.

"The Lord was here when it started," said lay leader Joe Morgan.

It happened at the Leatherbury United Methodist Church. It's a small church with 14-18 members.

Police found out about it at 2 p.m. Wednesday, after someone inside the the church noticed the burns.

So far there have been 49 arsons in the Eastern Shore since November, and now this attempted arson.

And this one's different. All the other arsons have targeted abandoned structures, and the church has service every weekend.

And now, police are offering $25,000 for information on who is behind them.

"When you start picking on active churches or active buildings that people are using, it starts to make you feel uneasy about coming up by yourself at night," Morgan said.

There are serveral burns on the church from where the arsonist tried to set it on fire.

Police say it looks like whoever attempted the fire did so within the last 24 hours from when officers found it.

But, there's hope. Virginia State Police say that because the church didn't burn completely, they could find more clues.

Police are still trying to figure out if they're all connected.

And while we were there, people came to see the burns for themselves.

"He just started out burning down old shacks and houses and now... It may not be the nicest church in the world, but people congregate here and do whatever they do. It's just craziness, absolute madness," said Willie Taylor, who came to look at the burns.

The church will continue to have service this weekend.