Arrest Made in Vandalism of North Hollywood Church

NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - A 58-year-old man was arrested today for allegedly vandalizing a landmark Roman Catholic church in North Hollywood.

The suspect, identified as Russel Congleton, was taken into custody shortly before 8 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department and sheriff's online inmate records.

Congleton was located in the area of Lankershim Boulevard and Riverside Drive, about two blocks from St. Charles Borromeo Church at 10800 Moorpark St., according to ABC7.

A witness saw Congleton and recognized him from a flier and called authorities, the station reported.

The vandalism at St. Charles Borromeo Church at Lankershim Boulevard and Moorpark Street was discovered about 4:45 a.m. Wednesday, the LAPD reported.

Congleton allegedly forced his way through a double door leading into the church and once inside attempted to set three separate fires before vandalizing the premises, according to the LAPD.

Police allege he smashed stained glass windows and damaged religious statues, books, candles and holders and spread holy oils throughout the church.

“Upon exiting the building, he set a fourth fire on the outer door,” according to a police statement. “During his crime spree, he set a fire to a trash Dumpster at nearby Chase bank and vandalized five vehicles by smashing the windows.”

Congleton was being held at the Van Nuys jail in lieu of $46,000 bail, according to sheriff's records.

The case was investigated by the multi-agency House of Worship Task Force.

Police say they will present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday.

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