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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 14, 2009

Contact: Sherry Duval, PIO

(651) 726-0166

$16,000 Reward Offered in Arson Investigation

YANKTON, S.D. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Yankton Police Department today announced a reward of up to $16,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the April 4, 2009, fire at the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Yankton. The reward is being funded by ATF, the Church Mutual Insurance Company, and Crime Stoppers.

The fire scene was processed by investigators from the Yankton Fire Department, Yankton Police Department, agents from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and agents from ATF. The investigators have determined that this fire was intentionally set.

The devastation that results from intentionally set fires are wide reaching, said Bernard J. Zapor, special agent in charge of ATF’s St. Paul Field Division. It is a significant concern that someone would set fire to a house of worship. We are asking for the public’s help to apprehend and convict the person or persons who are responsible, said Zapor.

Anyone with information on the fire is asked to contact investigators at:

  • 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3473);
  • Crime Stoppers at 605-665-4440; or the
  • Yankton Police Department at 605-668-5210.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at