A Petersburg minister whose Chesterfield County house was set on fire last month and sparked a potential hate crime probe has been charged with setting the fires himself.
Chesterfield police arrested and charged Olander D. Cuthrell, 41, of the 7800 block of Little Ridge Court, on two counts of felony arson. Cuthrell is a minister at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg.
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.
A racial slur was also painted on the house. 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.
Police Lt. Steve Grohowski said that Cuthrell, “became the focus of the investigation around March 25 or 28.”
He also said that police have an “indication” that Cuthrell had financial problems prior to the fire.
Chesterfield police believe Cuthrell set the fires and painted the racial slur on the residence.