Man arrested for attempted church burning

By on Thursday, August 12th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

BOARDMAN – The Boardman Police Department and Morrow County Sheriff’s Office hare arrested Mario Morales Jr., 38, after he allegedly tried to set fire to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Boardman Monday. Charges against him include second-degree arson, reckless burning, and second-degree burglary.

In the summary report from law enforcement, the Rev. Luis Flores told officers that he found Morales at the parsonage patio burning a small pallet using a charcoal chimney and rosary beads to start the fire. The rosary beads and chimney were church property, which the priest said Morales took from the garage on church property.

“Father Luis told Mario he needed to leave and get off the property,” the report states. “Father Luis was able to put out the fire before it could spread beyond the pallet.”

At that point, Mario walked around the church. He then allegedly pulled an electrical line from the exterior wall and another electrical line from an outside light fixture. He then is charged with separating the two copper wires from the line and attempting to plug them into an electrical outlet attached to the church building. Boardman Police Officer Shane Brandon arrived on the scene and stopped Morales, taking him into custody.

Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson says he will send the case against Morales to a grand jury next week.