NEW LONDON, Mo. -- The longtime treasurer of Antioch Baptist Church near Hannibal has been arrested in connection with the theft of more than $300,000 from the church, which was destroyed by fire on Dec. 20, 2016.
Ralls County Sheriff Gerry Dinwiddie announced Friday that Donald R. White, 68, of Hannibal, was charged with two federal counts of wire fraud.
Dinwiddie said White was taken into custody by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and was being transported to St. Louis for incarceration.
Dinwiddie said the arrest resulted from an extensive investigation that was conducted in the wake of the church fire, which was deemed suspicious in nature.
Dinwiddie said White, an elder with the church and longtime treasurer, was suspected of being involved in a large-scale theft of church funds just prior to the fire.
The investigation was conducted by the Ralls County Sheriff's Department with assistance from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the Missouri state fire marshal's office.
The fire destroyed the 80-member congregation's house of worship along Antioch Lane, just outside of Hannibal.
Less than a year later, ground was broken to rebuild on a lot adjacent to the property where the original church stood for almost 150 years.
Plans call for the congregation to be in its new building by the end of 2018. The new church will cost about $1.5 million and will be three times as large as the previous facility.
Since the fire, the congregation has been holding its services at Hannibal Seventh-Day Adventist Church.