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Published: Thursday, 6/24/2010

Toledo Fire Department offering reward money for tips on arson fires

BLADE STAFF

The Toledo Fire Department is increasing its efforts to catch people who set blazes and offering more money to tipsters who help catch the criminals.

The city is offering through its Crimestoppers program a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest of an arsonist. The maximum reward comes from multiple sources and does not include any city of Toledo taxpayer money.

The specific addresses being investigated by the Toledo Fire and Rescue Investigative Unit include, 1601 Navarre Ave., 267 Sumner Drive, 254 and 258 Wasaon St., 1570 Tecumseh St., 532 South Ave., 3019 Ontario St., 2214 Chase St., 861 McKinley Drive, 3345 Glenwood Ave., 531 Potter St., 956 Forsyth St., 1101 Norwood Ave., 1131 Fernwood Ave., 27 Streicher St., 421 Oak St., 527 Walden Ave.

Deputy Fire Chief Phillip Cervantes said arson is "one the most difficult crimes to prosecute" because of a lack of evidence and witnesses.

The reward is essentially a doubling of the money usually handed out for a successful Crimestoppers tip.

Toledo last year led Ohio's six largest cities with the most arsons per capita, according to federal statistics.

Toledo police reported 510 arsons last year, which is 175 arsons per 100,000 people. The statewide average is 96.6 arsons per 100,000 people.

The city was also the only city to post an increase in arsons from 2008, as intentionally set fires rose by 14 percent, according to the FBI's data from the Toledo Police Department. The crime fell in all other cities except Cincinnati, which did not submit arson data to the FBI.



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