- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2017

A 108-year-old church in Nome, North Dakota that was recently purchased by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb was burned to the ground Wednesday.

Mr. Cobb, who was featured in the 2015 documentary “Welcome to Leith” about his and his followers’ attempt to take over the town Leith, North Dakota, obtained the deed of the church at 295 3rd Ave. last month, but residents said it didn’t appear as though he had moved in yet, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the same day a story about the church and Mr. Cobb was featured on The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead’s front page, The Tribune reported.

Mr. Cobb told local ABC News affiliate WDAY that the fire was “100 percent arson” and a threat to his life. He said he planned on delivering furniture to the church earlier that day and that both gas and electric utilities were turned off. He is offering a $2,000 reward for any information related to the incident.

Jerome Jankowski, who lives directly south of the church, said there were some rumors circulating around town about people wanting to burn the church down, “but maybe it was just an offhand comment,” he told WDAY.

“It’s kind of sad that it goes, because it’s kind of a landmark in this town,” Mr. Jankowski said. “First of all, it’s a church, so it’s almost sacrilegious.”

Randy Langland, a firefighter with the Nome Volunteer Fire Department who arrived on the scene, said officials don’t know how the fire started. The state fire marshal is expected to investigate Thursday.

The church was completely destroyed in the blaze, leaving just the foundation and chimney intact. No one was inside the structure at the time and no injuries were reported.

Mr. Cobb told WDAY that he had considered several different options for the building, including opening a church called “the President Donald J. Trump Church of Rome,” not Nome.

In 2013, Mr. Cobb gained notoriety by trying to create a white enclave with other supremacists in Leith. He is currently on probation for terrorizing Leith residents during a November 2013 incident.

Just days before he was arrested in 2013, Mr. Cobb was humiliated on national television after he found out from a DNA test on “The Trisha Goddard Show” that he is 14 percent sub-Saharan African.

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