Olander D. Cuthrell: Black minister with 'money worries' painted racial slurs on his house then burned it down to fake a hate crime
A Baptist minister at a Virginia church has been charged with setting his own house and car on fire.
Chesterfield County police had been investigating the fires as a possible hate crime because a racial slur had been painted on the house
Now police believe 41-year-old Olander D. Cuthrell, who is black, painted the slurs on his home on the 7800 block of Little Ridge Court before setting it on fire.
At about 4:30 a.m. on March 15, police were called to Cuthrell's residence where it was reported that a car and a porch were on fire. Both fires were extinguished and no one was injured.
Due to the allegations of civil rights violations, specifically claims of a hate crime, the FBI assisted the Chesterfield County Police Department in its investigation.
Following the fires, Cuthrell told 8News that he believed it was a hate crime.
‘It's hard now sleeping... There's no peace, there's no sense of security,’ he said.
Police Lt. Steve Grohowski told The Petersburg Progress-Index that Cuthrell 'became the focus of the investigation around March 25 or 28.'
Cuthrell has been charged him with two counts of felony arson after setting fire to the porch of his home on the 7800 block of Little Ridge Court
Police now believe that Cuthrell spray painted racial slurs on his own home
He also said that police have an 'indication' that Cuthrell had financial problems prior to the fire.
On Tuesday he charged with two felony arson counts following a joint investigation with the FBI.
Police said: 'Allegations of Civil Rights violations, specifically claims of a Hate Crime, are serious matters, and the FBI assisted the Chesterfield County Police Department in its investigation of the incident.'
Cuthrell, who a minister of music at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg, is being held without bond at the Chesterfield County Jail.
An April 17 hearing is set in Chesterfield County General District Court.
Cuthrell is a minister of music at the Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg
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