Female suspect arrested and charged for fire that destroyed Surrey church

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      A suspect has been arrested and charged with arson after a church was burnt down in Surrey last month.

      St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in the Whalley area of Surrey was hit by a fire on July 14, in which a door was damaged.

      That was followed by a second fire on July 19, which destroyed the church and was deemed suspicious.

      That same day, Surrey RCMP released an image from surveillance footage of a female suspect, lighting items on fire near the church door.  

      Surrey RCMP announced today (August 30) that after an investigation, officers arrested 35-year-old Kathleen Panek of no fixed address. She has been charged with two counts of arson for the two incidents at the church.

      After hundreds of unmarked graves were confirmed at former residential schools across Canada, including in B.C. near Kamloops, Cranbook, and Penelakut Island, numerous churches across B.C. have been targeted with vandalism and arson attempts.

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