Accused church arsonist identified as jailed shoplifting suspect


Deputies in Hillsborough County say surveillance video helped them identify the man who broke into a church and set it on fire last month – and it turned out he was already in jail.

Back on the night of September 18, footage from the Incarnation Catholic Church in Town ‘n Country showed a man smash his way inside the church and pour something on the pews before setting them ablaze.

Investigators said the man then ran out of the building without appearing to steal anything from inside.

Parishioners did not let the crime interfere with church services; Father Michael Cormier urged everyone to pray for the suspect.

PREVIOUS: Deputies search for arsonist who broke into church and set pews on fire

Deputies, though, were less forgiving. Four days later, they spotted the same suspect in surveillance video from a burglary at the Granada Meat Market on Waters Avenue. The man again smashed his way through the glass, but this time stole food and cigarettes.

After Eugenio Rodriguez-Colina was arrested on Monday for allegedly shoplifting at a Walmart, detectives say were able to connect him to the two other crimes.

Other charges, including arson and burglary, were filed against the 45-year-old Wednesday. Arrest records show no home address for Rodriguez-Colina.

“Houses of worship are such special places in our community, and we will never tolerate this type of criminal behavior,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.