Employee Arrested After Racist Graffiti, Arson at Kansas City Church

Chris Oberholtz, KCTV 5, October 30, 2017

A church maintenance worker has been charged with arson after setting a fire at Concord Cultural Center and spray-painting racist graffiti on the front of the adjoining church in an effort to cover up his burglary, said Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Nathaniel D. Nelson, 48, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. {snip}

Nathaniel D. Nelson

Nelson was a member of the church who was employed as a maintenance worker at the church and cultural center, located at 11040 W. Longview Pkwy.

Firefighters were called by a church employee and responded to the cultural center on Sunday morning. A fire had occurred in an office inside the building but a sprinkler had activated and extinguished the fire prior to the arrival of firefighters. Investigators concluded that an office chair and other ordinary combustible material had been intentionally ignited using an open flame.

Investigators also discovered racist graffiti spray-painted on the front of the church. A racial slur, the letters “KKK” and a symbol similar to a swastika were visible from the main entrance into the parking lot as members of the congregation arrived for church for Sunday morning services.

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According to the affidavit, Nelson told investigators that he went to his office in the cultural center to smoke crack cocaine sometime after 8 p.m. Saturday. At some point after getting high, Nelson said he went into the church office area and attempted to force his way into the finance office to steal money. {snip}

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According to the affidavit, Nelson told investigators that he intentionally set a fire inside the office area of the cultural center using clothing and paper towels that he had laid on or next to an office chair. Nelson also told investigators he spray-painted the front of the church with inflammatory graffiti and intentionally set the fire to create a diversion and throw investigators off.

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