Newport News Police make arrest after threat allegedly made to burn a church

Photo of Ronnie Orlando Sanders. Photo provided by the Newport New Fire Department.

Newport News, Va. – Police in Newport News have arrested a man that they suspect made threats to burn a church in the city.

Ronnie Sanders is the suspect police have arrested after he allegedly made threats to St. Paul Episcopal on 34th Street in regards to starting a fire.

He was told to leave the premises by staff after he was being disruptive on Monday at the church, and while leaving, told them that he would be back to start a fire, according to officials.

The church contacted a Fire Marshall with the Newport News Fire Marshall’s Office, and they responded to the incident.

The Fire Marshall’s Office obtained a warrant for the arrest of Sanders for┬áThreat to Burn a place of assembly, a Class 5 Felony.

Officials say that Sanders was also identified as a suspect into an open case from August 12, 2017, where someone had started a fire at a dumpster in the 3300 block of West Avenue A.

A warrant for Arson of Personal Property less than 200 dollar value, a Class 1 misdemeanor, was also obtained for Sanders in regards to the fire in August 2017.