BEND, ore. - Bend police investigating a string of seven early-morning arson fires that hit downtown three weeks ago, two that damaged church buildings, doubled a reward offer to $20,000 Wednesday in hopes of gathering more tips that could lead to the culprits.
The fires were set early March 6 at Trinity Episcopal Church, its adjacent building and two nearby detached garages, two cars and a woodpile. Damage to the church buildings alone was estimated at $2 million.
The area's arson task force is offering the reward of up to $20,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Bend police Lt. Chris Carney said Wednesday they hope the higher reward will keep the case in the public's mind and spur those with information to come forward.
"What we don't want is for this to get on the back burner with the community and they kind of forget about it," Carney said.
"I really believe our community is victimized as a whole, and I think this will really give our community some relief, if we can get this person or persons in custody," he added.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact Bend police at (541) 322-2960.