Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man ‘In the Mood for a Midnight Fire’ Allegedly Burns Down Church

Joseph W. Gazafy, Jr.

Joseph W. Gazafy, Jr.

Independence, Mo., man Joseph W. Gazafy Jr., 22, was arrested Friday morning on charges of second-degree arson after he allegedly set the Church of Jesus Christ Outreach Restoration Branch on fire (he reportedly was not a parishioner). WKCTV5.com reports that the fire, that was started in the basement kitchen, spread throughout the building before it was spotted around 1:45 a.m., and caused extensive damage to the building, which will be unusable for some time.

According to Officer Tom Gentry, police received a call from the suspect around 2:30 confessing to the crime. Gazafy gave several explanations for his behavior, including wanting to get his family’s attention, doing it for the rush, and, perhaps most importantly, he was in “in the mood for a midnight fire.”

Later, he allegedly asked a police officer, “Can I be free? I think I should be able to burn down a church.” Prosecutors requested bail┬ábe set at $30,000.

Slideshow: Fire Starters

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