Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Help sought to solve arson cases

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that could help solve a string of summertime arsons, including one that caused about $120,000 damage to a home under construction.

        Since June, Investigator Clifford MacBurney has checked into at least 10 arsons that remain unsolved.

        Mr. MacBurney said he investigates about 50 arsons a year, so the number is not especially high for a three-month period. He also doubts any of the fires are related.

        However, Mr. MacBurney said the department is seeking the public's help because the unsolved arsons fall into two categories: those in which he has a suspect but insufficient proof, and those in which he has next to no information.

        Among the more serious incidents:

        • June 9 at 224 S. 9th St.: A woman inside the home was unin jured after someone threw a Molotov cocktail through the structure's front window, causing a fire. A black man in his 30s named Shawn is being sought for questioning.

        • June 16 at 815 Symmes Ave.: Two separate fires were set inside the home, but no one was present at the time.

        • June 26 at 1032/1034 Hanover St.: A fire in this duplex displaced two families and caused $90,000 damage.

        • June 26 at 743 S. Erie Hwy.: A fire, believed to have been set to cover up a break-in and theft, caused damage to a used-car lot.

        • July 19, Imperial Drive: A house under construction was leveled by fire, causing an estimated loss of $120,000. The driver of a silver Dodge Avenger with blue neon lights around the rear license plate is being sought for questioning.

        Mr. MacBurney asks anyone with information on the fires to contact him at 868-5909, ext. 125.


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