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CFO Sink Announces Arrest, Confession of Church Arsonist

10/1/2009


CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Jennifer Hirst, (850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink today announced the arrest of Roderick Walker, 25, for the arson and burglary of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Riviera Beach. Walker confessed to setting the fires, and faces up to twenty-five years in prison if convicted.
 
"This senseless act of arson at a local church is simply reprehensible,” said CFO Sink. “I am grateful for the work of my Fire Marshal investigators and the Rivera Beach Fire Department and Police Department, and it is my hope that the community will rally behind the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church during their time of need.”
 
The State Fire Marshal’s Office responded last night to the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church to assess the fire damage and conduct an investigation. The detectives uncovered three different areas of origin and determined that the fire was intentionally set by using matches on clothing.  In an interview with Walker, detectives obtained a complete confession.  The estimated damage to the church is approximately $75,000.
 
Pastor Chandler of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church told State Fire Marshal investigators that, due to hard times in the community, the decision was recently made to drop the church’s fire insurance.
 
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is the Law Enforcement Branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local law enforcement and fire service agencies in the investigations of fires of a suspicious origin.  Anyone with information about arson or any suspicious incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-NO-ARSON.  Rewards are offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
 
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.