Man arrested for church arson

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — A 41-year-old Mattoon man was arrested Sunday morning after police say he set fire to a church.

A press release from the Mattoon Police Department says Michael J. Kallis has been charged with arson to a place of worship, burglary, and theft of a car.

Investigators say Kallis stole an item from the Mattoon Christian Church early Sunday morning, and then stole a car to flee from the scene of the fire.

“The fire was located by a police officer on patrol,” the release says. “The Church sustained heavy damage.”

Police say they arrested Kallis just after 5 a.m. Sunday at the Amtrak Train Station and that he was waiting for a train.

Investigators say Kallis told them that he heard voices in his head urging him to “help” the church and so he chose to burn it down so it could get insurance money.

Police say the man is not a member of the church and had only visited a food bank that was hosted there.

Investigators added they believe methamphetamine use played a major role in the arson.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.