When a spate of fires took place over a few weeks in 2013 in a small German town, it seemed odd that a quartet of firefighters were always among the first to show up at the scene. Now a court has determined why: They were the ones starting the fires so they could show off their firefighting expertise, the Telegraph reports. The men, between the ages of 20 and 22, were found guilty of arson after more than 100 fires in Ahrensburg that caused about $1.1 million in damage.
"The firefighters were under surveillance for some time," a police spokesman tells the Telegraph. "They had made false declarations and behaved erratically at the sites." The leader of the firestarters, who set ablaze everything from hay bales and garden sheds to cars, received an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a mandate to perform 100 hours of community service, while the other three men were hit with fines between around $325 and $1,100. The sentences were apparently light because they were tried in youth court. (An aspiring firefighter in Florida set a blaze that caused $500K in damages.)