Arsonists burn vans at church

COVINGTON — The Covington Fire Department is investigating an arson involving three vans parked at the rear of Solid Rock Baptist Church on Brown Bridge Road around 1 a.m. Thursday.

According to Fire Marshal Chief David Carter, firefighters were called to the church parking lot when a passerby notified them of the blaze.

Involved were two Dodge vans, a Ford van and a trailer, Carter said, adding that no other church property was damaged.

Carter said the fire is under investigation and he is awaiting lab results from samples taken at the scene. He said the three vehicles and trailer involved in the blaze were parked adjacent to one another and were a total loss.

"Right now we have no leads and if there's anybody who has some information about this fire, we'd be glad to hear from them," Carter said.

Carter can be reached at 770-385-2100 or call the Arson Hotline at 800-282-5804. Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Calls are taken 24 hours a day and callers can choose to remain anonymous.

In other crime news, a woman reported to the Covington Police Department that she was the victim of a scam involving the promise of scholarship funds.

The woman told detectives she responded to an ad on the Internet for college grants. She said she was then contacted by an organization out of India known as Government Grants USA and was told she had been approved for a grant in the amount of $30,000. She was then told she would need to send two Western Union money orders in the amount of $140 each to allow the organization to continue to search for more grant money for her.

She spoke with two employees of the organization who told her after she sent the $280 by wire, the grant money would be deposited via a prepaid credit card. So far, that hasn't happened.

Also, a man reported to the CPD that he was jumped and robbed of $48 by two acquaintances on Oct. 12.

The victim told officers that he and two friends were playing pool at the Billiards pool room and that he lost a dollar to one of them in a bet. He said later the three decided to go "into the woods on Martin Street to look at a deer drink water from the lake," according to a CPD incident report.

Once the three arrived at the lake, the victim said his friend demanded his dollar from the bet. The victim said he removed his wallet from his pocket to give the friend the dollar and that was when the two jumped him, took $48 from his wallet and left the scene.

The victim did not report the incident at once, and when the officer asked if he had a cell phone, he explained that he couldn't call and report the theft when it occurred because he didn't know where he was.

The victim also did not know his friends' last names nor where they live, but said he knew what they look like. The investigation is continuing.