Two Men Arrested in Arsons at 3 Del. Churches Facing Additional - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Two Men Arrested in Arsons at 3 Del. Churches Facing Additional Charges

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From left: Alex J. Harrington Jr. and Joseph T. Skochelak From left: Alex J. Harrington Jr. and Joseph T. Skochelak
Healing Hands Christian Church in Felton was destroyed by last week's fire. (Photo: WBOC) Healing Hands Christian Church in Felton was destroyed by last week's fire. (Photo: WBOC)
FELTON, Del.- Delaware State Police say two men facing arson charges in connection with three church fires in Felton are now facing burglary and related charges in connection with the break-in of a church in Frederica. 

On Tuesday, police said 26-year-old Alex J. Harrington and 25-year-old Joseph Skochelak were arrested for third-degree burglary, second-degree conspiracy, theft under $1,500 and criminal mischief in connection with the burglary of St. James AME Church, located at 4297 Andrews Lake Road in Frederica. According to police, sometime through the night of Monday, Dec. 1, into Tuesday, Dec. 2, the two suspects broke in through a rear window of the church and placed ceremonial garments (robes) near the alter before fleeing the church with a metal box containing papers of no value. Both were given a $6,100 cash bond on the aforementioned charges. 

On Monday night, the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office announced the arrests of Harrington and Skochelak in connection with the Dec. 3 arsons of three Felton-area churches. 

Harrington was taken into custody in the High Point Mobile Home Park Monday afternoon. Authorities said he is charged with three counts of second-degree arson, three counts of third-degree burglary, and three counts of second-degree conspiracy.

Also arrested was Joseph Skochelak, 25, who was taken into custody at a Dover apartment complex Monday afternoon. He is charged with the same offenses as Harrington.

For the arson charges, Harrington and Skochelak have each been committed to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center each in lieu of $30,000 cash bond. 

The first arson happened around 2 a.m. Dec. 2 at the Healing Hands Christian Church, which was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

As crews battled that blaze, another fire was reported at the Manship Chapel. The last fire came at 5:30 a.m. at the Laws Mennonite Church.

The damage to all three churches is estimated at $86,000 total, with the bulk at Healing Hands. There were no reported injuries.

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