Police: Man breaks into Verona church, threatens to set it on fire

Police arrest man after he calls 911 inside church
Police: Man breaks into Verona church, threatens to set it on fire

Verona police said one man has been arrested after he broke into a church on the city’s south side late Thursday night and threatened to set the building on fire.

The incident started just after 11 p.m. at St. James Lutheran Church in the 400 block of South Main Street in Verona.

According to police, officers were dispatched to the church following an intrusion alarm. When police arrived, they found a broken window and thought someone might have been trying to commit a burglary inside the church.

Police said the man inside the church at the time called 911, reported he had a gun and was going to start shooting and set the church on fire.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office – Tactical Response Team and Hostage Negotiation Team were called to the church to assist, according to the police department. Police said the man inside surrendered peacefully about 3 ½ hours later.

Police said he was transported to a local hospital for what appeared to be pre-existing injuries. Police continue to work on positively identifying the man and determine his motive for breaking into the church. Officers say he is not affiliated to the church, and they have not ruled out mental illness as a motive.