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Man set fire to Town 'N Country church pews, Hillsborough deputies say

Surveillance footage from the church, and a store break-in days later, led Hillsborough deputies to make an arrest.
Surveillance video from Sept. 18 shows the church pews set on fire by an arsonist who broke into Incarnation Catholic Church in Town 'N Country, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Surveillance video from Sept. 18 shows the church pews set on fire by an arsonist who broke into Incarnation Catholic Church in Town 'N Country, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Oct. 1, 2020

TAMPA — A 45-year-old man is accused of setting several pews on fire at Incarnation Catholic Church on Sept. 18, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Eugenio Rodriguez-Colina, who was arrested earlier this week on charges stemming from other incidents, now faces charges of arson, armed burglary and criminal mischief while wearing a mask in the church fire.

Deputies say the Town 'N Country church’s security camera footage captured images of the man accused of setting the fire. The video showed the man breaking a glass plane and entering the sanctuary with a “large bottle in his hand,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Eugenio Rodriguez-Colina, 45, is accused of setting several pews on fire at Incarnation Catholic Church on Sept. 18, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Eugenio Rodriguez-Colina, 45, is accused of setting several pews on fire at Incarnation Catholic Church on Sept. 18, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

He then poured flammable liquid onto three wooden pews and ignited them around 10:40 p.m., deputies say.

Then four days later, deputies say a man was caught on camera on Sept. 22 smashing the glass front door of the Granada Meat Market at 8230 W Waters Ave. and stealing cigarettes and food.

The man in the surveillance video was identified as Rodriguez-Colina, deputies say, and that led them to also identify him as the man seen in the church video footage. The church and store are about 2½ miles apart.

He was arrested Monday in a shoplifting incident that deputies say took place at the Walmart at 8220 N Dale Mabry Highway. Then on Wednesday, while he was in jail, he was again arrested on charges related to the church fire.

The investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Fire Marshal’s Office, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Rodriguez-Colina, who faces a total of nine charges, was being held without bail Thursday in the Orient Road Jail.

Video surveillance cameras on Sept. 18 captured a man pouring liquid onto the pews he then set on fire at Incarnation Catholic Church in Town 'N Country, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Video surveillance cameras on Sept. 18 captured a man pouring liquid onto the pews he then set on fire at Incarnation Catholic Church in Town 'N Country, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
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