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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
identified.

"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.

Marcia February 07, 2013 at 11:59 PM
What is going on with kids anymore? Criminals of all ages. You never used to hear of this age group or younger. Makes you afraid to see them grow up, they are our future, if we'll even have one. It's pretty scary.
ssm February 08, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Parents?????????????
Jeremy February 08, 2013 at 03:48 AM
The sad thing is he will be back on the streets in 21 days jdc only holds kids for 21 days unless sentenced.An a cereal arsonist can't stop starting fires...So get fire insurance
Teresa Jones February 08, 2013 at 04:36 AM
I just map quested my address to the address of the boy involved in these fires, after hearing on channel 11 news that he also has admitted to killing animals. I live 3 minutes from his address. My cat (yellow) came up missing a few months ago, and a month prior to that, a little girl in our neighborhood went door to door looking for her yellow cat that was missing and it has never been found either. I knew foul play was involved when my cat went missing, but I had assumed an adult had been involved. For a child to be killing animals is a sign of severe mental illness. They also reported he lives with his grandmother and she has tried to cover up for him. Also his father is in jail and is the one who taught the boy how to start fires. I hope the state realizes his grandmother is not able to care for him and it's abusive that she has not gotten him any mental help, but instead cover's up his action's. I guess I just got my answer on what happened to my cat. I will be following this closely because this kid needs help!!!
vincent gimble February 08, 2013 at 01:49 PM
What is going on here in west PASCO is something a lot more serious and is rarely talked about. It is called generational poverty. Parents if you even dare call them that - who are not physically and mentally and financially prePared to have kids having kids and these kids are growing up and not being given support or motivation or encouragement by the parents, instead they are not only teaching their kids how to be poor but also teaching them every bad habit that they have including all their misplaced priorities. This is the result of few jobs and low wages in this county. It is only going to get worse
Brian February 08, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Bookem Dano.....
Ann Non Amiss February 08, 2013 at 04:06 PM
R.P., JENNIFER, BONNIE....SHAME ON YOU!!!
Michelle Fretz February 08, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Good way to put it Vincent....
Caressa A. February 08, 2013 at 08:42 PM
This is very troubling. Animals and fires is NOT something that is remedied.
michael mirra February 08, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Some of these kids are crazy. About 4 years ago, my stepson said a kid that lives about 4 houses away used to smash/crust lizards for fun & made other kids do it too if they wanted to swim in his pool. A kid like him would graduate to small animals, like neighborhood cats & docile dogs. He would be afraid of a dog that could defend himself. That's how most serial killers begin. Jeffery Dahmer must have begun with small animals & gained momentum. A kid setting fires repeatedly at 11 has some major head problems & we're all at risk till he finally gets put away & he will someday. Meantime, there are him & unknown others out there.
Jimmy James II February 09, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Well said, vincent gimble.
Linda Craig February 10, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Sad...
Lora353 February 11, 2013 at 09:19 PM
serial
Lora353 February 11, 2013 at 09:20 PM
You never heard of kids this young being arrested because they were not arrested at that age. It's a new world
Lora353 February 11, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Parents? As in the one that is in prison for setting this boy's mother on fire? This child needed mental health assistance long before this arrest.

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