A Utah teen is accused of causing $600,000 worth of damages to two churches she allegedly set on fire.
Jillian Robinson, 18, is accused of setting fire in the meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ in Orem on Friday. She’s also accused of setting another fire in the meetinghouse of a nearby church off of 828 W. 1600 North, less than a mile away from the first fire.
According to a Facebook post by the Orem Police Department, officers arrived to see “several fires had been set throughout the church.” After extinguishing the fires, investigators found Robinson outside on the sidewalk near the second church, wearing a backpack. Inside the backpack, authorities found a lighter, a water bottle filled with gasoline, a power drill, and a Sharpie marker, according to Orem PD.
Investigators found the phrase “Satan Lives” written with a black Sharpie marker inside one of the churches, as well as graffiti. When questioned, the suspect initially denied involvement, according to police, but later, in a written statement, admitted she only intended to set a small fire.
“I was angry and all I wanted to do was set a small fire and it got out of control. I fled the scene and didn’t look back. I felt like playing with fire because of my crazy life at home, this was not a hate crime.”
Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez told FOX13 that the chapel area of one church was damaged extensively and although the other church didn’t have as much fire damage, the suspect vandalized it and drilled holes in the door locks.
“A lot of the pews inside of the chapel area, pretty much every single one of those is damaged which is where a lot of that dollar estimate comes from,” Martinez said. “There was a second church that it looks like she tried to start a fire at. We could smell gas. One of the door locks had been drilled out and she had written ‘Satan Lives.’ Both of those churches had vandalism done to them with a black sharpie.”
Martinez added that Robertson likely didn’t agree with “things with the LDS church,” but authorities are treating the incident as intentional arson.
“It’s obvious she doesn’t agree with maybe some of the things with the LDS Church and that’s maybe why she picked that. She’s only been 18 for about six months now, so super young. Not a good start,” Martinez said.
Robinson was arrested and charged with felony arson and burglary. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Jillian Robertson/Police Handout]