As the Catawba County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate a Monday morning church arson, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced hate crimes are on the rise across the country. Authorities said that there were no deaths or injuries but officials are calling it 'suspicious.' WSOC reported that officials found the words "anti-gay hate group" spray painted on a wall behind the church.
Deputies did discover the phrase, "anti-gay hate group", spray-painted on the property. Investigators believe that the fire started in the boiler room located in the basement.
The pastor said the church has had to actually change their phone number before because people have gotten Providence Baptist Church confused with Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden. "With our love for them, regardless of what they've done, we're still going to have that compassion for people".
The pastor of the church is concerned that the fire may have been intentionally set.
Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty is on the scene and will have updates all morning on Eyewitness News Daybreak.