Three Cars Torched in Two Days in Columbus' Historic District

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Lindsey Connell

WTVM News Reporter

May 9, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM)-- Residents in Columbus' Historic District are looking for answers tonight.

This after three cars were set on fire in that neighborhood in the past two days.

Some are wondering if serial arsonists are now on the loose.

This comes after three cars were set on fire in the past two nights all in the same area- one on Fifth Street and two on Front Avenue.

"One car was torched and totally engulfed in flames and burnt to the ground," said Donna Comer, a resident in the Historic District.

"It's really unsettling to see this because this is such a nice neighborhood, it's a nice city," added Paul Schexnayder, also a resident in that area.

The cars sustained smoke, electrical and structural damage, forcing the Columbus Fire Department to launch an investigation into the arsons.

"That vehicle represents somebody's hard earned money, somebody's hard earned investment and that's their property and that's a violation just as if someone broke into your home," said Schexnayder.

"Because these arsons are happening, some residents here are taking action and forming a Neighborhood Watch group. They say they want to do everything they can to prevent crimes like this from happening in the place they call home.

They hope that the watch group will create a heightened awareness in the community so that residents will notice anything out of the ordinary.

"It's just a matter of taking that time to glance out the window in many cases," said Schexnayder.

"Hopefully everybody being alert and aware, we can deter this and make it stop, make it go away," said Comer.

Fire officials tell us tonight, they are following leads in the arsons.

In the meantime, the Historic District's newly formed Neighborhood Watch group will hold it's first meeting this Monday at 12 PM noon, at 501 Broadway.

Concerned residents in that area are encouraged to attend.