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Cops: Woman Set Fire to Guy's Car, Only It Wasn't Her Ex's

The 19-year-old was caught on surveillance video in Florida

(Newser) - A young woman police have identified through surveillance video as 19-year-old Carmen Chamblee is charged with setting fire to a Honda Civic in Clearwater, Fla., and she says she thought it was her ex-boyfriend's, reports WFTS . It wasn't. Thomas Jennings, the man who owned the vehicle, says he'... More »

Arson 101: Guy Shows How Not to Light a Fire

Well, that didn't go as planned

(Newser) - Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the guy trying to burn a building down who sets fire to a little more than you intended. Such was the plight of a would-be arsonist intending to burn down a Kentucky barbershop when he accidentally... More »

Ex-Fire Captain Behind Virginia Arson Spree: Cops

Charles R. Smith III, girlfriend suspected of setting nearly 80 blazes

(Newser) - A former volunteer firefighter captain in Virginia and his girlfriend are behind one of the worst arson sprees in state history, police say. Charles R. Smith III and girlfriend Tonya Bundick were arrested soon after an abandoned residence was torched early yesterday. They have been charged in that fire but... More »

2 Dead in Murder-Suicide at University of Maryland

Student reportedly first set fire in basement of his off-campus home

(Newser) - Two University of Maryland students are dead and a third was wounded this morning in what police are classifying as a murder-suicide. Just after 1am, one student set a fire in the basement of his off-campus house, police tell NBC News . When his two housemates confronted him, they all went... More »

Big Find in Case of Arsonist Who Died After Conviction

Canister marked 'sodium cyanide' recovered from Michael Marin's car

(Newser) - Michael Marin, the convicted arsonist who dropped dead minutes after his guilty verdict was read in a Phoenix courtroom, most likely took a homemade cyanide pill, say police. After his dramatic death, a member of Marin's family received a delayed email from the former Wall Street trader saying that,... More »

Arsonist Drops Dead After Guilty Verdict

Speculation swirls that he killed himself

(Newser) - An Arizona man collapsed in court yesterday, minutes after a jury pronounced him guilty of arson—and many are speculating that he poisoned himself. Courtroom video appears to show defendant Michael Marin swallow something just after the verdict is read, My Fox Phoenix reports. Several minutes pass uneventfully, and then... More »

Accused LA Arsonist Eyed in Vancouver Fires

Canada rejected Burkhart's claim for refugee status

(Newser) - Cops in Vancouver are wondering whether accused Los Angeles firebug Harry Burkhart hates Canadians as much as he hates Americans . Burkhart and his mother lived in the city before moving to LA, and Canadian police now suspect him of involvement in at least a dozen unsolved property arsons in Vancouver,... More »

Suspected LA Arsonist Faces Life

Harry Burkhart could serve as many as 341 years ... or more

(Newser) - Suspected arsonist Harry Burkhart reportedly proclaimed "I hate America," when Los Angeles police apprehended him—and it looks like America, or, at least, its prosecutors, aren't too keen on him, either. Burkhart faces 37 felony counts of arson; if convicted on all counts, that could translate into... More »

Blocked Bathroom Access Sparked NYC Mosque Attack

Frappuccino firebomber confesses

(Newser) - Police say an unemployed truck driver suspected of carrying out a string of firebombing attacks in New York has confessed to the attacks, and told them that he targeted a mosque because he wasn't allowed to use its bathroom. Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, has been charged with five counts... More »

LA Arson Suspect: I Hate America

State Department tip led cops to angry Harry Burkhart

(Newser) - The 24-year-old German man arrested on suspicion of setting more than 50 houses and building on fire in Los Angeles said "I hate America" after cops pulled him out of his car, LA Weekly reports. Harry Burkhart was apparently furious over his mother's pending deportation, say police, who... More »

Cops Hunt NYC Firebomber

Sketch of frappuccino-drinking hate-crime suspect released

(Newser) - Police in New York City say the suspect in four firebombings apparently hates Muslims and Hindus but loves Starbucks. A sketch of the man suspected of throwing Molotov cocktails at four targets —including a mosque, a home that doubles as a Hindu temple, and a deli—has been released... More »

Suspect Arrested in LA Arsons

'We've got the right guy,' says LAPD chief

(Newser) - The "person of interest" detained earlier today in Los Angeles' string of arsons has been arrested, reports the Los Angeles Times . "I feel very good that we've got the right guy," says LA Police Chief Charlie Beck. He "had the right stuff in his van,... More »

LA Arson Spree Continues With 12 More Fires

12 more fires break out, police detain person of interest

(Newser) - Another dozen fires broke out over two hours early this morning around Los Angeles, some of them apparently simultaneously , as police investigate 55 such incidents since last week . Police have now detained a "person of interest" in the crimes, believed to be the same white male between 20 and... More »

More Fires Hit LA on NYE

Wave of arson now the worst since '92 riots

(Newser) - Hundreds of extra firefighters were deployed in Los Angeles New Year's Eve to fight the city's worst wave of arson since the 1992 riots. Four more cars were set ablaze, apparently at random, and investigators believe the same arsonist or arsonists who started more than 30 fires in... More »

LA Arson Spree Torches Cars

More than 35 fires set over two days

(Newser) - Los Angeles apparently has one or more arsonists running around. Firefighters battled 16 more blazes overnight, on top of 21 the previous night, mostly around Hollywood, reports the Los Angeles Times . It appears the fires were started in parked cars, and several spread to nearby buildings. The most notable example:... More »

Arsonist Busted After Leaving Fingertip at Scene

Cops found Ismael Ortiz, not surprisingly, at a hospital

(Newser) - Ismael Ortiz left something kinda important behind after allegedly setting a Florida home on fire: the tip of his finger. Police found the evidence inside a latex glove; a detective says Ortiz slammed his finger in a door while fleeing the scene. They found Ortiz, 24, at a local hospital,... More »

Texas Arsonists Torching Churches

Security stepped up after 10 church fires so far this year

(Newser) - A string of church fires in East Texas has stumped authorities and frightened congregations, with seven so far this year having been set by arsonists and another three thought to be their handiwork. The damage runs into the millions of dollars and some churches have begun organizing night watches, the... More »

Berlin Protesters Torch Luxury Cars

Sardonically named 'BMW' claims responsibility for arsons

(Newser) - As the financial crisis inflames class tensions, economic protest in Berlin has taken the form of arson attacks on luxury cars, Bloomberg reports. Activists have torched more than 2 dozen vehicles this year, and the pace is increasing. A group puckishly calling itself “BMW”—an acronym for "... More »

UK Millionaire Set Fire After Killing Family

Footage shows Foster blocking exits before murder/suicide

(Newser) - Police have found the body of a UK millionaire inside the charred remains of his mansion, the Guardian reports. Authorities now believe Christopher Foster fatally shot his wife and teenage daughter, along with three family horses and four dogs, early on Aug. 26 before setting the house ablaze and turning... More »

Arsonist May Have Set Fla. Fires

Gov declares state of emergency, promises harsh consequences

(Newser) - Fires that have raged across Florida over the last 2 days may have been deliberately set, Gov. Charlie Crist said today. Investigators have pointed to the fact that many of the blazes in different places sprang up at once as evidence of arson, CNN reports. Almost 100 homes have been... More »

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