Man accused of setting nativity on fire at Vandalia church

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Bond was set at $50,000 Wednesday for a Dayton man accused of setting fire last month to a nativity scene and van at Hopeland Church in Vandalia.

Garrett Scott Cook, 20, was arraigned in Vandalia Municipal Court for arson, vandalism and desecration of a place of worship.

Vandalia Division of Police and Vandalia Division of Fire responded at 9 p.m. Dec. 1 to a fire reported at the church at 6025 Miller Lane.

“This fire involved a nativity scene located at the front of the structure and a passenger van located in the parking lot at the same address,” the fire division posted on social media Wednesday afternoon.

The nativity fire involved several bales of straw that were ignited, and the vehicle was a 1996 Ford van, according to a police report.

Cook was arrested Tuesday evening on a warrant after formal charges were filed against him. He remains in the Montgomery County Jail awaiting a Jan. 14 preliminary hearing.

Police were called again Sunday to the church when the pastor reported that someone entered the building sometime between New Year’s Eve and Sunday and caused about $10,000 damage to equipment, including a computer, copier and TVs. Evidence listed in a police report included green spray paint.

Police have not said whether the incidents were connected.

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