SEATTLE - The ATF says the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a string of attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses halls in the past year has been increased to up to $61,000, with the Federal Bureau of Investigations offering up to $25,000 this week.
The ATF says it's also offering up to $25,000, the Arson Alarm Foundation is offering a reward from its annual $10,000 fund and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is offering up to another $1,000 through Crime Stoppers of South Sound.
There have been seven separate attacks on Kingdom and Assembly Halls of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Thurston County since March 2018. They are:
The ATF says the incidents are all close to each other and believed to be related.
No injuries have been reported in any of the incidents.
“It is inevitable that innocent people will be injured or killed if these incidents go unchecked,” said Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Darek Pleasants after the December 2018 fire. “We take events at houses of worship very seriously and are appealing to those who live in and around Thurston and the surrounding counties to partner with us in protecting their communities in this investigation.”
The ATF believes that these incidents were meant to send a message, that the suspect or suspects has or have a grievance related to the Jehovah’s Witness community, or about another issue they think is important. The ATF says before these fires, the person or persons involved are likely to have shared these strong feelings with others through comments and conversation.
The ATF believes that the individual or individuals responsible for these incidents may have also exhibited changes in behavior in the hours and days since the fires, to include:
Anyone having information on the fires or shooting should call ATF’s toll free hotline at 888-ATF-TIPS (283-8477), Crime Stoppers of South Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or the Arson Alarm Foundation at 1-800-55-ARSON (1-800-552-7766). Callers may remain anonymous.
More information about ATF and its programs are available at www.atf.gov.