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Chinese woman faces charges for setting several fires at historic Alabama church

A 27-year-old Chinese national who arrived in the United States on a student visa from China has been charged with setting multiple fires inside First Baptist Church of Montgomery in Alabama.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office said it has filed federal charges against Xiaoquin Yan, 27, a Montgomery woman who was accused of committing arson at the church on the 29th of September, news station WSFA 12 reported.

Pastor Mark Bethea told agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that during his interaction with the woman after the service on Sept. 26, he “ultimately escorted the female from the premises of the church.” He later found that the church’s security staff had been approached by the same woman who was “acting suspiciously,” so they wrote down her license plate number.

The security also observed “two blue duffel bags with white wiring inside the vehicle.”

When the woman visited the centuries-old church, she asked church custodians about where security cameras were positioned and requested a tour of the building, according to the indictment, Alabama Political Reporter said.

After the arson incident, ATF agents were able to match an older Buick LeSabre to the one registered to Yan, whose vehicle could be seen speeding up to leave the church in the early hours of the 30th of September.


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