Crime

FBI adds $25,000 to reward pot for information on Jehovah’s Witnesses halls attacks

Lacey Kingdom Hall destroyed by fire

The Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall on Sixth Avenue in Thurston County was gutted by a suspicious early morning fire on Dec. 7, 2018.
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The Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall on Sixth Avenue in Thurston County was gutted by a suspicious early morning fire on Dec. 7, 2018.

The FBI is adding to the reward for information on a series of attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses halls in Thurston and Pierce counties over the past year and a half.

The FBI announced Friday it is offering as much as $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the attacks.

The announcement brings the total reward fund to $61,000. Previously the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Arson Alarm Foundation, and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office through Crime Stoppers of South Sound had offered rewards.

There have been seven attacks on Kingdom and Assembly Halls of the Jehovah’s Witnesses since March 2018, including arson fires that destroyed the Olympia Kingdom Hall on Cain Road in July 2018 and the Lacey Kingdom Hall on Sixth Avenue Southeast in December 2018.

The most recent incident was Aug. 13 at the Puyallup Assembly Hall, where a fire caused minor damage to an outside wall and overhang.

No injuries have been reported.

Investigations by local law enforcement agencies and the ATF are ongoing. ATF says the incidents are likely related given the close proximity and were meant to send a message.

Investigators say the suspect or suspects may have exhibited changes in behavior, including dramatic and unexplained changes to physical appearance, changes in routines or habits, unexplained injuries or intense interest in the investigation.

Anyone with information can call ATF’s hotline at 888-ATF-TIPS (283-8477), Crime Stoppers of South Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or the Arson Alarm Foundation at 1-800-55-ARSON (1-800-552-7766).

Callers can be anonymous.

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