Police offer reward in suspected arson cases

Two homes under construction in Clayton were destroyed by early morning fires, latest in more than a dozen suspicious fires

May 3, 2010 8:00:37 AM PDT
Investigators say they are looking into whether they may have a serial arsonist in Clayton. The two fires that destroyed homes under construction early Sunday morning are the latest in more than a dozen suspicious fires since October. Authorities suspect in arson in the latest two fires.

"At this time the investigation tends to believe they were both intentionally set," Clayton Police Captain John Coley said.

At 2:44 am, the Clayton Fire Department was summoned to Skygrove Drive in the Glen Laurel subdivision. When Clayton police and firefighters arrived, a house under construction at 151 Skygrove Drive was fully involved with flames through the roof.

"This is serious stuff," Eyewitness Kevin Casatelli said.

An adjacent house under construction at 137 Skygrove Drive was also found to have an intensifying fire.

The fires at both structures were extinguished with help from Wilson’s Mills Fire Department and the Archer Lodge Fire Department, but both were essentially destroyed.

Many of Casatelli's neighbors in the Glen Laurel subdivision share his concerns, after two homes under construction burned overnight in the latest of a string of suspicious fires.

"They really stepped things up here because they did this in a residential area where there's a lot of families directly beside these houses that were directly burned down," Casatelli said. "For example were 100 feet away from these houses so this put people's lives at risk so things just got turned up turned up a lot."

Investigators say these are the sixth and seventh buildings under construction in the vicinity that investigators believe were intentionally burned since October 2009.

"Were actively investigating all crimes however we have solved one," Coley said.

A 13-year-old boy is charged in a fire at a daycare center under construction last month.

"The suspect that is in custody now in juvenile he actually lives two blocks from here so we thought things were under control things were ok but you never really would expect it to happen here," Casatelli said.

Casatelli says he is looking into putting together a neighborhood watch in hopes of deterring the arsonist while police continue to look for evidence.

No one was hurt in the two fires.

The Clayton Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

The Clayton Police Department is offering a reward in excess of over $10,000 for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the illegal burning of properties under construction at the following locations:

1.) 12 Cameo Court, on Oct. 31st, 2009

2.) 47 Cameo Court, on Oct. 31st, 2009

3.) 12 Cameo Court, on Dec. 15th, 2009

4.) 102 Rolling Meadows, on Jan. 18th, 2010

5.) 116 Rolling Meadows, on Jan. 18th, 2010

6.) 137 Skygrove Drive, on May 2nd, 2010

7.) 151 Skygrove Drive, on May 2nd, 2010

Anyone with information on these cases is asked to call the Clayton Police Department at (919) 553-4611 or Clayton Crime Stoppers at 9919) 359-TIPZ (8479).

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