11-Year-Old Charged in Serial Arson Cases
Police say he has admitted to setting six fires in New Port Richey.
An 11-year-old boy faces six felony arson fires related to a string of incidents in a New Port Richey neighborhood.
Since July 2011, the New Port Richey Police Department has responded to 11 fires set in the neighborhood of the 6000 block of Indiana Ave., according to a press release from Police Chief James Steffens.
The frequency of the fires increased in recent weeks and a pattern was
"That led investigators to a suspect who is eleven years old,” Steffens said in the release.
The boy lives in the area.
The boy, whose name is not being released due to his age, was interviewed several times in the past, but probable cause could not be established, the release said.
Over the past month alone, fires were set in the neighborhood on six occasions: Jan. 20, Jan. 21, Feb. 2, Feb. 4 and Feb. 6.
Police decided to set up a surveillance detail and as they began on Wednesday, a fire was started. The boy was detained, and a witness came forward.
The boy admitted to six of the fires, the release said, and was arrested Wednesday and charged with six counts of arson. He was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center.
Sheds, trees, chairs and other items were set on fire at different residences during the spree.
An arrest report states the boy admits to lighting a house on fire, among other things.
There have been no injuries. However, there was at least one house occupied at the time a fire was set, according to Steffens’ release.
The boy told a detective he used many things to start the fires, including a magnifying glass and a battery.