Arsons on rise in JT

An arsonist(s) in Jackson Township are eschewing the heat of summer for heat of their own by setting fires throughout the Grove City area.

According to township firefighter Capt. Chuck Strader, a string of fires started around the first of May and continued to escalate in intensity until the middle of July, when the activity peaked with a total of 15 suspicious fires.

"The fires started off small, with things like setting a pillow on fire in the middle of the road," reported Strader, who had the arsons featured as Central Ohio Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week on Aug. 2. The organization posted a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or an indictment in the crime.

"Then it moved from mulch, Dumpster and Port-a-John fires to something much more serious and culminated in an arson fire in a community laundry room at the Suffolk Grove Apartments off Stringtown Road. There were 15 instances of arson. They just kept growing in intensity and it’s something we typically see with someone starting out setting arson fires."

Strader said people can help in this and any arson investigation by being vigilant and reporting suspicious behavior. Preliminary information received by the fire department indicates the suspects are male, most likely teenagers, and possibly driving a compact red car.

There was no set pattern as far as time and location, other than the majority of the arsons took place in the early morning hours. Incidents were scattered all over Grove City and not confined to a single geographic area. It is believed the suspect or suspects live locally and may have discussed their actions with others.

"Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened and it’s certainly not the last case we’ll see," continued the captain. "The investigation is ongoing and anyone with any information should call me at 945-5051."

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