Video captures woman setting fire at Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines; charged with arson


DES PLAINES, Ill. — A woman has been charged after setting a fire at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines.

According to police, Virginia Roque-Fermin, 41, of Arlington Heights, faces one felony count of arson.

Virginia Roque-Fermin, 41 (police booking photo)

Around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to the church, located on the 1100 block of North River Road, on the report of a fire.

Officers attempted to extinguish the fire, but were unsuccessful. The fire department arrived to the scene and put out the fire.

After responding to the fire, officers witnessed Roque-Fermin quickly walking away from the shrine with soot on the front of her clothes.

Des Plaines church fire believed to be arson; person detained

Surveillance video outside the church captures Roque-Fermin carrying multiple objects and tossing them into the shrine. She then is seen starting a fire while continuing to throw surrounding objects into the flames.

Police said the total damage at the church is estimated to be over $78,000.

Roque-Fermin is scheduled to appear in bond court Wednesday.

The Des Plaines church’s shrine of the Virgin Mary is the most visited in the United States.

A pilgrimage is held on December 12 of every year to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Catholics believe that is the day Mary appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico. Those who come bring candles and say prayers.

A GoFundMe Page has been established by The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe to help defray costs from repairs being made to the outdoor chapel that was vandalized early Tuesday morning.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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