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Cops: Riverhead man charged with arson for starting fire at church

A Riverhead man caught on surveillance video setting a fire at a church was arrested Saturday, according to Riverhead Town police.

Lee Ragland, 33, was arrested at Riverhead Police Headquarters and charged with third-degree arson, a felony.

Police received a 911 call of a fire at the Luz en tu Senda Church at 941 Roanoke Ave. at 2:22 a.m. Saturday. Officers found a working fire at the rear of the exterior of the building, police said. The fire had reached a point of breaching an upper window and was entering the interior of the church.

Firefighters in the Riverhead Fire Department responded and quickly extinguished the flames, but not before some interior damage occurred. The building was unoccupied and no injuries were reported as firefighters extinguished the flames.

The Riverhead Fire Marshal’s office responded to the scene along with Riverhead detectives to investigate. The Suffolk County Arson Squad also assisted in the investigation as the fire appeared suspicious.

Riverhead detectives determined the fire was started by a man who was captured on surveillance cameras.

Mr. Ragland is scheduled to be arraigned in Riverhead Justice Court Sunday morning.

Mr. Ragland was arrested in 2017 on a burglary charge by Southold police, according to prior reports.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact police at 631-727-4500, ext. 312.

Photo: Lee Ragland mugshot/2017. (Credit: Southold police)