Texas Arsonists Torching Churches
Security stepped up after 10 church fires so far this year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2010 5:10 AM CST

(Newser) – A string of church fires in East Texas has stumped authorities and frightened congregations, with seven so far this year having been set by arsonists and another three thought to be their handiwork. The damage runs into the millions of dollars and some churches have begun organizing night watches, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The fires have mostly been in small towns, but there doesn't seem to be any pattern, investigators say. Churches have been targeted regardless of religion or race of the congregation. Some people suspect Muslims, liberals, or Satan himself are behind the fires, but investigators warn against jumping to conclusions. "It doesn't have to be a hate crime," an ATF spokesman tells the Dallas Morning News.