Public's Help Sought in Car Arsons Investigation

Click here to read Lindsey's bio.By
Lindsey Connell

WTVM News Reporter

May 14, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM)-- The Columbus Fire Department is asking for your help finding those responsible for a series of vehicle arsons.

WTVM was the first to tell you about three car arsons in the Historic District last week.

Eight more cars were set on fire since then.

The Columbus Fire Department isn't providing specifics on their investigation into eleven recent car arsons but Chief Thomas Streeter, who is heading up the investigation, says investigators are following any and all leads.

"We're going around to the neighborhood and asking some questions of the people that actually had these fires- is there anything that they noticed out of the norm? Something that to them may not have been anything but to us, might mean a whole lot," Streeter said.

So has Columbus seen crimes like this before? Chief Streeter says yes. Back in 2006, the North side of the city was hit with a series of car arsons. The suspects were never caught then but Streeter says those cases are not related to the most recent arsons.

"It was a rash of them just like we just had. It was a rash of them in a short period of time and then they ceased. Right now, it doesn't look like these are linked to any of those that occurred back then. Some of the things that were used are totally different," he added.

The Fire Department has been working closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms during their investigation. Streeter says some evidence has already been sent to the ATF's state crime lab and more is being collected. The Fire Department is encouraging residents to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

"They know their neighborhood better than any of us so they just need to be on the lookout," he said.

Chief Streeter says police patrols have increased in those areas affected by the arsons.

No word yet on when the test results on the evidence will come back from the ATF's crime lab.

Anyone with information on the arsons is asked to call the Fire Department at 706-653-3500.