Charges laid in Coptic Orthodox Church arson in Surrey

FOLLOWING an investigation by the Surrey RCMP Major Crime Section into a fire that destroyed the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Whalley, a 35-year-old woman was arrested on August 26.

The church was the target of two incidents of arson, the first on July 14, and the second on July 19 that destroyed the church.

Kathleen Panek of no fixed address has now been charged with two counts of arson in connection with the incidents on July 14 and July 19.

“The loss of the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church has had a significant impact on members of that congregation and the greater community,” said Sgt. Elenore Sturko. “We hope that this announcement of an arrest and charges will bring some comfort to those who were impacted.”