Arson case solved

By Major Jerry Bell

On Saturday, May 11, a local citizen was driving over the North Grand Ave. Bridge located near Mrytle St. when they observed that there was a fire underneath the bridge. The fire department along with the Director of Public works, Hank Frazier, was called to the scene. It was determined at that time that person(s) unknown had set fire to the bridge causing damage to one of the major pilings. Frazier said that the bridge was presently safe to travel over but that it would have to be repaired. The city had the bridge repaired at a cost of thousands of dollars.

On Tuesday, June 25, Major Jerry Bell was assigned the case to investigate. At that time Major Bell was investigating numerous cases involving local juveniles. Those cases involved Vehicle Thefts, burglaries, criminal property damage and other crimes. While interviewing suspects in those cases, Major Bell obtained confessions from three juveniles pertaining to the bridge burning along with confessions from numerous other crimes. The bridge was burnt using spray cans stolen from a local dollar store and cigarette lighters.

Major Bell was also able to obtain a video of the juveniles burning the bridge. That video was placed into evidence. Major Bell contacted DA Steven Dwight who has set up a meeting between the DQPD and his Juvenile Attorneys to discuss what charges are relevant to this matter. Several of the juveniles involved are already in the juvenile justice system.

Major Bell wants the parents of any juveniles to know where their children are. These crimes occurred late at night when the young people should have been off the street. Serious injury could have occurred if the fire hadn’t been detected and the bridge repaired. One juvenile in this matter told Major Bell that they had entered around 40 vehicles during a two-night theft binge of finding vehicles not locked. This is known by the police as car shopping whereby the perpetrators go from house to house seeing who left their cars unlocked. From these vehicles, numerous items were taken to include pistols.

The juveniles involved confessed to most of the crimes to include the defacing of numerous bridges, businesses, and other structures. Several of the juveniles had their own logos, called tags, which they placed on the structures causing criminal property damage. Several of the juveniles confessed to spray painting our stop signs at different locations which caused danger to our citizens. All these various defacing will also be reported to the District Attorney’s office.

Major Bell asks the public to please lock your vehicles, and never leave weapons in your vehicle. Pistols should never be in the hands of juveniles especially those that are bent on criminal activities.