PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four juveniles have been arrested and charged for allegedly starting a fire that destroyed St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Philadelphia’s Tacony section in May. The 137-year-old church was destroyed in the two-alarm blaze.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, the arrests were made after an anonymous tip helped investigators identify the suspects.READ MORE: CBS3 Mysteries: Detectives Searching For Man They Believe Can Help Solve Santino Thomas' Murder Case
Officials say the juveniles unlawfully entered the church and set the blaze on May 9.
Two of the suspects have been charged with arson, conspiracy, burglary and other related offenses. The other two have been charged with burglary, conspiracy and related offenses.READ MORE: Sharon Hill Borough Council Launches Independent Investigation Into Fatal Shooting Of 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility
“The crimes alleged here harmed the Tacony community. Philadelphia’s historic structures are beloved for so much more than their beauty; in this case, even though the church was being re-developed for private use, St. Leo was revered for its history of baptisms, weddings, memorials, and other milestone life events held by our neighbors in this region over generations,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “Fortunately, there were no injuries or loss of life as a result of this destructive fire. I want to thank the ATF Arson and Explosives Task Force for resolving this investigation, and for working with my office to help ensure these youths are fairly and appropriately held accountable.”
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed St. Leo’s for daily mass in 2019. They tell Eyewitness News the building was vacant at the time the fire sparked.
Officials are not releasing the suspects’ names due to their ages.MORE NEWS: 19-Year-Old Man Killed In Double Shooting Inside Port Richmond Home, Police Say
No one was injured in the fire.