A suspected Longmont arsonist confessed to police he purchased a gas can and broke a window, but denied starting a fire causing more than $5,000 worth of damage to a church Sunday morning, according to a Longmont Police Department arrest affidavit.
Cassidy Cole Moroney, 34, who is homeless, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a fire at Central Longmont Presbyterian Church, 402 Kimbark St. Moroney was charged on suspicion of first-degree arson and was held at the Boulder County Jail on a $50,000 bond, according to online court records.
Church surveillance footage captured a suspect, believed to be Moroney, around 2:58 a.m. Sunday walking through the parking lot of the church with a red gas can. The man was described as wearing an orange or red puffy ski jacket and a scarf.
For the next roughly two and a half hours, the man can be seen walking around the church. At 5:23 a.m., he appeared to try and break the door of Recovery Café, a nonprofit housed in the basement of the church, but was unsuccessful, according to the affidavit.
He then is seen picking up a rock and smashing a window on the double doors at the south side of the church, where he leaned in to pour gasoline, according to the records. Following these actions, a flash is seen on camera followed by images of a fire burning in the entryway.
The church’s sprinkler system helped to keep the fire from spreading out of control. The damage was contained to the doors, foyer and stairwell just inside the south entrance, according to David Barker, the church’s pastor. A celebration for the church’s 150th anniversary Sunday is expected to continue.
Police and fire investigators recovered a scarf with blood on it that matched the one Moroney was seen wearing on surveillance tape, and a gas can, with a label for Main Street Mart, still intact. Tracing it back to the convenience store at 902 Main St., police were able to view Main Street Mart’s surveillance footage from Saturday.
A store manager said a man, who left an orange puffy ski jacket outside on the sidewalk, came into the store. The footage shows him purchasing a gas can and gasoline.
A confidential informant also reported they recognized the images of the suspect as Cassidy. The informant also told police Cassidy was allegedly mad at the church because they wouldn’t let him in, but the church had no record of Cassidy, the affidavit said.
On Saturday, Moroney had apparently visited Recovery Café. He was identified in surveillance footage by Recovery Café staff. He is seen entering the basement of the building with the same clothes he is seen wearing later in the day when he allegedly bought gas, according to the affidavit.
Longmont police located Moroney Tuesday at a shelter and arrested him without incident. According to the affidavit, Moroney confessed to police he purchased the gas can and broke a window, but would not admit to trying to burn the church, “because he is a Christian and would go to Hell,” the affidavit said.
According to online Colorado court records, Moroney has been convicted of criminal mischief, reckless driving, third-degree assault, possession of drug paraphernalia, second-degree burglary and disorderly conduct for unreasonable noise.
Moroney will next appear in court Friday for a return filing of charges, according to court records.