Eastern Shore calms, investigations into arsons still going

Eastern Shore calms, investigations into arsons still going

Eastern Shore calms, investigations into arsons still going

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by Brian Farrell

WVEC.com

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 12:07 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 21 at 10:24 AM

ACCOMACK COUNTY -- Virginia State Police continues heading the investigations into dozens of intentionally set fires on the Eastern Shore which took place towards the end of last year.

By December 21, VSP was looking at 36 cases of arson, many believed to be the work of the same person, others thought to come from copycats.

"Typically, his motivation is excitement. It's coming from watching the fire trucks come in, from watching the fire," said Battalion Chief James Ramsey, Fire Marshal of Virginia Beach.

Ramsey, who is not involved in the investigations on the Eastern Shore, told 13News that motive can make it difficult to track a serial arsonist compared to other people who deliberately set fires.

"Typically, there's a motive for profit. If a guy burns his car, it's to get out of his car payment. There's revenge, you know, maybe a domestic. They'll put a wife's clothes on the floor, burn it," said Ramsey.

Targets on the Eastern Shore from November to December appeared to be hit randomly. They were abandoned buildings or empty properties.

Ramsey said investigators generally look to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's standard profile of a serial arsonist as a starting point.

"Typical, motivated arsonist would be 18 to 28 years old. He's a white male. He's typically been arrested several times for nuisance/misdemeanor crimes," offered Ramsey. "Typically, the first fires he lights would be within a 4-to-5-mile radius of where he lives. He typically still lives at home with his parents about 50 percent of the time."

A spokesman for Virginia State Police said in December that a substantial amount of resources from many departments has been put towards the investigations. It's been about a month since a new case popped up, but it's not clear why.

 

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