On July 30, the Glendale Police Dept. arrested a 51-year-old San Pedro man who caused fire to a church located in the City of Glendale.
The initial incident occurred on the evening of July 6 just before midnight. An unknown suspect caused fire to the Faith Center Church located in the 1600 block of South Glendale Avenue in the City of Glendale. A video surveillance captured the suspect throwing a Molotov cocktail, a highly flammable incendiary device, onto the church property that then caught fire. As this was occurring, a Glendale police officer happened to be patrolling the area when she noticed the fire. The officer was able to quickly extinguish the fire, not knowing yet that it was intentionally caused by the suspect, who had already fled the scene upon seeing her patrol vehicle.
It was later discovered that the suspect had left behind a bag containing additional Molotov cocktail devices and it is believed that the officer had interrupted what would have been a much larger fire.
The Glendale Police Dept. detectives investigated this incident as arson and believed at the time that this may have been a hate crime. The additional devices were carefully collected as evidence and processed by the Verdugo Regional Crime Lab located at the Glendale Police Dept. Glendale Police DNA specialists were able to recover DNA evidence from the devices and were able to identify the offender as 51-year-old Donald Walter Maitz of San Pedro.
Detectives believe the motive was based on revenge against church administrators and not hatred towards the church or the religion.
Faith Center church in Glendale released the following statement: “Faith Center church in Glendale would like to express its utmost gratitude to the Glendale Police Dept. for their rapid and successful investigation and apprehension of the suspect in the recent arson attack on the church. The suspected arsonist was not a church member as has been reported.
Faith Center church stands with the community and all local churches in opposition to all violence, hate and prejudice.”
Maitz was placed under arrest in the City of San Pedro and charged with one count of arson and one count for the use of a destruction device. He remains in custody with a bail set at $500,000.