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Woman Suspected of Burning Rio Vista Church Cross Charged with Hate Crime

RIO VISTA -- The FBI and California Department of Justice have been notified of a hate crime in Rio Vista.

Police have been investigating a vandalism that took place Tuesday night at the Union Baptist Church.

"There was a significant amount of vandalism that had occurred inside the chapel itself," said Rio Vista Police Chief Dan Dailey. "In and around the alter area and all throughout the chapel itself."

A large redwood cross in the middle of the chapel was burned.

Danielle Ricafrente, 23 (Credit: Rio Vista Police Department)

On Wednesday, physical evidence left at the scene led law enforcement officials to arrest 23-year-old Danielle Ricafrente. She was charged on suspicion of committing a hate crime and transferred to the Solano County Jail. Prosecutors may seek federal charges against her.

"We are currently in touch with the State Department of Justice and the FBI, consulting with them on the case to see if they wish to get involved or take part in the investigation," Dailey said.

Until then, the church will remain closed. Deacon Roger Benz told FOX40 this particular church is no stranger to vandalism.

"Probably at least a half-dozen, some of them are real minor. We had one major break-in here about three years ago," Benz said.

The suspect broke a window to gain entry into the chapel and from there caused several thousands of dollars in damage.

"It's disappointment," Benz said. "You'd think this is a church, a place of worship, you think it should be given a little more respect. But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore."

Benz said service at the Union Baptist Church will go on as normal. They will get things inside cleaned up and ready to go for Sunday morning.