Click play for CCTV footage of the man
POLICE want to speak to a man caught on camera outside the Beechworth Salvation Army church less than an hour before it was set alight earlier this month.
It’s believed a man forced entry to the Ford Street building between 7pm and 9.20pm on Sunday, April 8.
Once inside he allegedly lit a number of small fires before fleeing.
Wodonga detectives have released an image of the man they hope can assist with inquiries.
He is described as in his 30s to 40s, medium to solid build, wearing a hooded jumper with a front zipper.
“We would like that person to come forward so we can have a chat,” Det Sgt Peter Revell, of Wodonga police said.
“Or if anyone recognises this person they should contact Beechworth police, Crime Stoppers or Wodonga detectives.”
The fire caused about $120,000 damage.
The Salvation Army’s Lieutenant Pauline Middleton urged anyone with information about it to contact police.
“I’m hoping there will be something, some information, no matter how small, from the community,” she said.
“We’re still very vulnerable.”
Lieutenant Middleton said she had been overwhelmed by community support since the fire.
“We’ve got a lot to be grateful for — that no-one was hurt, that the police have been working very well with us — and we’ve had enormous support from the local community,” she said.
Parishioners have been holding their Sunday service in a hall at the Anglican Church but hope to move into a temporary building in the next few weeks.
“We may have another place to worship and be able to accommodate drop-ins and other groups we’ve been housing for years,” Lieutenant Middleton said.
Prisoners from the Beechworth Correctional Centre will be on hand to help with rubbish removal at the burnt hall today and repair work is expected to start in the next couple of weeks.
Anyone with information should contact Beechworth police on (03) 5728 1032, Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Wodonga detectives on (02) 6049 2700.