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DPS increases reward in arson cases

By Scott Harvey

– Authorities have increased a reward for information into a string of church fires in Texas.

At least eight churches, seven in east and one in central Texas have occurred since January 1. All eight have been ruled arson. The DPS is now offering $25,000 on the identity of the arsonist.

Investigators from numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in the area have been working together on a task force dedicated to finding the suspect. The task force has received numerous tips, but needs additional credible leads.

Anyone with information on the identity of the person(s) committing these arsons is urged to call 903-675-0061 or 903-675-0062. These numbers are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We are working closely with our federal and local partners," said Steven C. McCraw, director of the DPS. "We are committed to sending whatever resources are required to bring this suspect to justice."

Federal investigators Tuesday morning were sorting through the latest two church fires. Both were reported within an hour of each other Monday night at churches about three miles apart in a rural area northwest of Tyler. No injuries were reported at Dover Baptist Church or Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church.