8-year-old Arsonist Arrested in Connecticut
NEW LONDON, CT – August 09, 2018
Police charged an 8-year-old boy suspected of setting fires in an apartment complex on Eugene O’Neill Drive with setting a fire inside a car parked nearby.
Authorities confirmed the minor was issued a summons for reckless burning and third-degree criminal mischief in connection with a vehicle fire at the Winthrop Square Apartments in July. Fire officials said the minor is also suspected in several other small fires in the area.
During the investigation into that fire, officials found burn marks on the floor in a common hallway of the same building and learned there had been more fires that were not reported to the fire department.
Fire Marshal Vernon Skau said firefighters first went to 286 Eugene O'Neill Drive around 10 p.m. July 26, where the child allegedly set fire to the back door of one of the apartments there.
Skau said a custodian told them he had discovered other apparent burns on the front door and in the hallway and common area of the same apartment just a couple days earlier.
The child allegedly lit a newspaper on fire to start each minor blaze.
Skau said firefighters learned from police on July 30 that another fire had been started in a similar way inside a car outside 47 Federal St., which is less than a mile away.
The fire didn’t ignite the car, Skau said, but did cause minor damage inside.
Firefighters worked with police and property managers to obtain video of the car fire and identify the child. Later using surveillance footage, investigators identified the suspect in that fire.
He faces charges of reckless burning and criminal mischief.
"It's not a normal path that we would like to go down," said Skau. "But sometimes if you have to criminally charge someone to get the help that they need that's the direction you have to take."
"He doesn't need jail time he needs help honestly," said neighbor Monaris Rivera to News 8. "He needs... his mother needs more help."
Most juvenile matters cases in Connecticut are confidential. The investigation is ongoing, NBC Connecticut reports.