Florida man James Lee Harris arrested after setting fire to Jesus statue and houses
A man in Beverly Hills, Florida has been arrested for setting fire to two houses and a statue of Jesus, authorities say.
James Lee Harris, 25, set “a tree and a statue of Jesus Christ” on fire at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, a house on South Barbour Street and another vacant house on South Wadsworth Avenue.
“Not only is arson dangerous, but in some cases can be fatal,” Citrus County Sheriff Prendergast said in a statement Saturday. “No one in our community was hurt during Harris’ tirade of Unthinkable Acts. I applaud our assistants, community crime detectives and our partners at Citrus County Fire Rescue for working swiftly and diligently to protect our community from further harm. “
A fire “caused significant damage” to the house in South Wadsworth. A fence outside the South Barbour Street house was set on fire and its windows were “covered in liquid, possibly gasoline,” police said. Harris also attempted to set fire to propane tanks at the Catholic Church where he set the statue of Jesus and the tree on fire, as FOX 13 Tampa Bay first reported.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office identified Harris as a person of interest in three arson cases after obtaining surveillance footage, and he ultimately confessed to all three crimes after questioning him. A motive was unknown at the time of publication.
Harris has been charged with four counts, including arson in a church and arson in a dwelling, and is being held at the Citrus County Detention Center on $ 36,000 bail.
Prendergast thanked the witnesses “for providing invaluable information so quickly” which helped his department solve the crime.