OZONE PARK, Queens -- Had it not been for a vigilant custodian, a Queens church targeted by thieves may not still be standing.
“I probably came just in time, you know,” custodian Nathaniel Rodriguez said, recalling what happened early Monday at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, located on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens.
It was about 3:30 a.m. when Rodriguez noticed the lights were on inside the house of worship. When he went inside to see what was happening, he found highly flammable aerosol cans sitting on top of a stove with all the burners turned on.
There was gasoline spilled on the floor.
“Everything was a wreck,” he said. “It was just a total mess in there.”
Whoever broke into the church also ransacked the place, Rodriguez said. But he’s not sure why: the church is moving soon, so most of the valuables have already been transferred to the new location.
An investigation is underway into the fire and burglary. No arrests have been made in the case.