Suspect sought in Southwest Missouri fire

Sunday, March 8, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

LAMAR — Authorities in southwest Missouri are seeking a teenage suspect in connection with a February fire that burned down a century-old church.

Lamar police chief Ronald Hager said the suspect, 19-year-old John Franklin Manco, is charged with one count each of second-degree arson and second-degree burglary in connection with a fire that destroyed St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Investigators said someone apparently entered the church after services Feb. 7 and stole $200 in cash from the Mass offering. The burglar then applied an accelerant to the altar and a separate room where vestments and sacred vessels are stored.



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