CONNEAUT, Ohio - In a Friday morning news conference, Cleveland FBI and prosecutors announced the arrest and indictment of 23-year-old Ronald J. Pudder.
Police said Pudder set fire the First Azuza Apostolic Faith Church of God, in Conneaut, its the only African American church in the that area.
Pudder was indicted for intentionally damaging, destroying and attempting to destroy religious property because of race, color and ethnic characteristics of individuals associated with that property.
Pudder was also indicted for willfully and knowingly using fire to commit a felony offense.
Police said Pudder set fire to the church just before 5 a.m. on May 20. Neighbors called when they saw the flames. The front door was scorched, but flames did not damage the inside of the church.
Pudder was identified on surveillance video and gas stations near the church. FBI officials said gasoline was used to fuel the fire.
if convicted Pudder faces the maximum of 20 years in prison.
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