File photo: OnScene.TV

Police have arrested a 51-year-old former church member on suspicion of arson and the use of a destructive device in the fire-bombing of a Glendale church, authorities announced Wednesday.

The fire-bombing of the Faith Center Church in the 1600 block of South Glendale Avenue took place just before midnight on July 6, according to Glendale Police Sgt. Robert William.

Walter Maltz of San Pedro allegedly was caught on surveillance video throwing a Molotov cocktail onto the church property which then caught on fire, William said.

A Glendale police officer was patrolling the area near the church, spotted the flames and quickly put out the fire, William continued. Maltz had allegedly left the area by the time the officer arrived. However, police say the arsonist left behind a bag containing other Molotov cocktails, which could have been used to create a much bigger fire.

Glendale police initially investigated the arson as a possible hate crime, William said. DNA gathered from the remaining Molotov cocktails linked the arson to Maltz, William alleged.

Detectives then learned that Maltz had been a former church member and volunteer who was banned from the church for “unspecified inappropriate behavior,” and suspect that the real motive for the attack was revenge against church administrators and not hatred toward the church or the religion.

Maltz was arrested in San Pedro and booked on suspicion of arson and the use of a destructive device. He remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail, William said. No court information was immediately available.

–City News Service

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