St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bonners Ferry burned to the ground last spring. At the time, the loss of the building was estimated to be worth $1 million. Investigators found signs of vandalism in the church after the fire was put out, including a broken statue of Jesus they say was smashed before the fire brought the building down.
Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boise arrested 33-year-old Shane Rucker of Bonners Ferry. He is charged with destruction of religious property under the Church Arson Prevention Act. Rucker is scheduled for his first appearance at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene Friday.
The maximum sentence Rucker faces is 20 years in prison, with a minimum of 10 years. A number of local, state and federal agencies are working on the case, including the FBI and the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office. U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson is prosecuting the case, one of her last. Appointed by President Obama in 2010, she will step down next week.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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