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Ex-member charged in church arson; damage estimated at $100K

A man who reportedly is a former member was charged with setting fire to a church in southwest Georgia, officials said Thursday.

Kentrez Gardner, 37, of Colquitt County, confessed to setting the blaze that caused damage estimated at more than $100,000, according to state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Gardner was arrested Wednesday in Dougherty County, officials said in a news release. He is in the Mitchell County jail on charges of first-degree arson and burglary of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Camilla.

The Dougherty County Police Department, the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in arresting Gardner.

Camilla is about 205 miles southwest of Atlanta.

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