A Hanceville man suspected of burglarizing and attempting to set fire to Laodocia Free Will Baptist Church was caught Thursday holding a tasty treat from the church’s kitchen.
Rocky Pigg, 23, of Hanceville, was arrested just after midnight on Thursday after Pigg’s brother called police to report that Rocky had allegedly set multiple areas on fire in the church and stole material. Police Chief Bob Long said responders arrived in time to stop the fires from spreading and two areas had extinguished on their own.
“Apparently he had stolen a big tub of ice cream from the church after burglarizing it and committing arson,” Long said. “ He was walking to his home and threw the ice cream lid in the street. When he was found, he was eating the ice cream.”
Long said officers seized the ice cream and lid for evidence. Mayor Kenneth Nail said he believed divine intervention took place to save the church from being destroyed.
“When he broke into the church, he set papers on fire under the pulpit, and also left a burning candle under the pulpit for it to ignite other materials,” Nail said. “In the fellowship hall, he set a roll of paper towels on fire, and they actually went out on their own. I have to think divine intervention took place to put the fire out.”
Nail said Pigg ransacked the building by pulling books and other materials in the floor in the Sunday school rooms.
“The church members are not happy about someone tearing up the church, but the people out here are loving and forgiving; I guarantee tonight we will have a special prayer for this man,” Nail said.
Long said a revival will still take place tonight and the pastor has extended an invitation to everyone. The church is located at 276 County Road 522 in Hanceville.
“They are going to hand out ice cream cones to everyone,” Long said.
Pigg was charged with second degree arson and second degree burglary. He is being held at the Cullman County Detention Center.
Lauren Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.