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Medina County Sheriff's Office arrests woman wanted in connection to arson fire at Lodi Community Church

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Posted at 7:35 AM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 13:13:44-04

WEST SALEM, Ohio — The Medina County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a woman wanted in connection to an arson fire at Lodi Community Church.

Shelli Williams, of West Salem, is being held in Medina County Jail on a breaking and entering charge, a fifth-degree felony.

Church leaders said multiple fires were started inside the Lodi Community Church, located at 9701 Congress Street in West Salem, Sunday.

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Lodi Community Church.

Surveillance cameras captured a woman inside the building around 5 p.m. on July 4 prior to the fire alarm going off inside the church.

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Lodi Community Church.

The sheriff's office posted photos of the woman on Facebook and received a tip. She was identified and arrested Monday in West Salem, the sheriff’s office said.

Pastor Micah Dobson and worship leader Jim Boscaljon are counting their blessings after the charred mess was left behind in the church's basement.

"The easiest path is the bitterness path, and you just have to choose to not be bitter and you have to choose this is what Christ has for us," said Boscaljon. "I"m glad nobody was here. I'm glad we didn't have anybody in the building. Things can be replaced. People can't."

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Inside the Lodi Community Church where a fire was intentionally started.

The pastor said the church has insurance and believes the congregation will come back stronger.

He also wonders why anyone would do this as the woman does not appear to have any connection to the church.

"I have never seen her. I don't think anybody else in the church has either, so I really have no idea," said Dobson.

Dobson said Sunday services will be held elsewhere for at least a few months, but a location hasn't been determined.

The Medina County Sheriff’s Office said the case will be presented to the Medina County Grand Jury for consideration of an arson criminal charge on Wednesday.

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