Mattoon man arrested for setting fire to church

Regional News

Michael J Kallis

MATTOON, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Mattoon man who told police he heard voices in his head telling him to “help” a church was arrested for arson on Sunday, Chief of Mattoon Police Jason J. Taylor reported Monday.

Police allege that Michael J. Kallis, 41, of Mattoon, committed arson at the Mattoon Christian Church early Saturday morning, that he stole an item from within the church and that he stole a motor vehicle to get away from the scene of the fire. The fire was reported by a police officer on patrol. The church sustained heavy damage.

Kallis was arrested Sunday at 5:01 a.m. at the train depot in the 1700 block of Broadway Ave. while awaiting a train. He was charged with arson to a place of worship, burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.

Kallis told investigators that he heard voices in his head that urged him to “help” the church so he decided to burn it down in order that the congregation obtain insurance money. Kallis is not a member of the church and only frequented the area due to a food bank being run from the church building.

Taylor reported that methamphetamine use is believed to have played a role in this incident.  

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