Two Bellevue boys, ages 15 and 12, were arrested yesterday on suspicion of setting several fires in the past week, and police say the two...
Two Bellevue boys, ages 15 and 12, were arrested yesterday on suspicion of setting several fires in the past week, and police say the two may have been involved in other fires over the past few weeks.
Police had been looking aggressively for suspects in a string of 11 fires set since April 10. They were also investigating whether six unsolved fires last month may have been set by the same arsonists.
The boys were arrested at 4 p.m. yesterday at the Robinswood neighborhood apartment complex where they live in separate units, Bellevue police spokesman Michael Chiu said.
The two boys are suspected in “a majority” of the fires under investigation, though police did not provide an estimate, Chiu said. Most of 17 fires under investigation were in the Robinswood neighborhood.
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One of the boys has a criminal history, and he was identified last week as a possible suspect, Chiu said. Bellevue detectives and fire officials were able to build a case from there, Chiu said.
The fires under investigation were small and crude, set mostly in garbage bins, recycling bins or trash cans, and some of them were set near schools, police said. Detectives suspected “early on it was someone who had relatively little experience,” Chiu said.
No one was injured in any of the fires, but they caused thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The most recent blaze was reported about 9 p.m. Monday. Someone lit a golf cart on fire at Sammamish High School, in the 100 block of 140th Avenue Southeast, Chiu said. The fire melted part of the cart and spread to a stand-alone concession stand, causing about $15,000 in damage, fire officials said.
The fires were started near businesses, parks and schools, most at night or in the late afternoon, Chiu said. The arsonists also liked to set fires in bunches; five were ignited last weekend, outside an apartment complex, a video store, a hair salon, a church and at a playground.
The six fires in March were set mostly in brush or bark dust, and three of them were in residential areas, Chiu said.
The first two were March 7 and 8 in a field in the 600 block of 148th Avenue Southeast. Then brush was set on fire March 9 outside Romio’s Pizza & Pasta, in the 1200 block of 156th Avenue Northeast.
On March 10, a brush fire started in the 2100 block of 145th Avenue Southeast. Unsolved fires also started March 11 in the 6300 block of 114th Avenue Southeast and March 25 in the 4700 block of 164th Avenue Southeast.
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or firstname.lastname@example.org