Dr. Bridget Barnes Steib (pictured), the head pastor and televangelist of a Baton Rouge ministry, has been arrested for allegedly trying to burn her own house down, and her actions were captured on video surveillance, reports the Advocate.
Steib and her husband, Joseph, are the couple better known in the community as the pastors of the Ministry of Love Congregation. The 49-year-old woman — who also hosts a local radio broadcast, appeared on various Christian TV shows, and authored books — began the full gospel church in 1994 along with her husband, whom investigators say is not a suspect.
The multi-alarm blaze took place on Monday morning at the couple’s million-dollar home.
By Wednesday, it was determined that the blaze, which took 35 firefighters to extinguish, had been intentionally set.
A video from a surveillance camera in the Steib’s home shows two women inside the residence as the fire is starting. Both Steib and her sister, Lucille Ellen Brown, are then seen taking belongings to a vehicle that is parked in the garage then driving away. The fire department was never contacted by either of the women. Steib’s husband is the one who gave investigators permission to view the home’s surveillance video.
According to an affidavit, Steib told authorities that she was not home at the time of the fire and was actually on her way to pick up her mother to go and visit someone at a hospital.
Obviously, the video proves otherwise.
Hear about the incident here:
Fire Marshall Butch Browning told the Advocate that the fire had actually started not long after an insurance policy was taken on the house, increasing its value.
Fire officials also state that about 25 percent of the house was destroyed by the fire that began in the utility room. The rest of the sprawling brick home had water and smoke damage.
Both women have been charged with simple arson and arson with intent to defraud.