Bashaw RCMP received a report on Feb. 13 that the St. Michaels Hungarian Church had burnt down during the evening. Upon RCMP’s arrival, the church was a total loss.
RCMP have observed a significant amount of reports of vandalism to area churches. Since January this year, Ponoka, Bashaw and Wetaskiwin RCMP had responded to multiple reports of churches being the target of mischief ranging from a rock through a window to entry being gained and significant damage to the interior. RCMP believed that some or all of these incidents were related to the same suspects.
In response to the increase in incidents, Bashaw, Wetaskiwin and Ponoka RCMP joined forces to work in partnership coordinating efforts and sharing information.
Local residents distributed photos of the suspects during a community meeting held in response to the incidents. During that meeting, the suspects were identified.
On Feb. 14, 2023, two suspects turned themselves in to Bashaw RCMP and admitted to their involvement in all incidents.
RCMP have charged Ponoka County resident Cameron Moses Wright (18), and a young offender with arson, mischief (x13), and break and enter (x10).
Cameron Wright was released for court on April 13, 2023 at Stettler Provincial Court.
The young offender was released for court on April 11, 2023 at Stettler Provincial Court.
At this time there is no evidence to suggest that these crimes were politically or ideologically motivated.