Public's help needed to solve suspicious fires

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and Middlebury Fire Department are asking for the public’s help in solving a string of suspicious fires.

Since March, there have been more than five in Middlebury’s Pine Hills neighborhood. Someone’s been setting homes, cars, sheds and trash cans on fire.

“We've dealt with this almost on a monthly basis now, different things that are occurring in this neighborhood that would cause alarm in any neighborhood,” said Captain James Bradberry with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.

The most recent incidents happened early Sunday morning. Around 3 a.m., a neighbor woke Brian Mills up to tell him his car was on fire.

Mills ran through his home and grabbed his two young children before running outside. That’s when he noticed the back of his house was on fire, too.

“You really couldn't see anything on the car except for the tires,” Brian Mills said. “And [the flames] ran all the way up the peak of the house.”

While police and firefighters started investigating the blaze, another call came in for a trash can fire just a few houses down.

Police believe both fires are linked to the other suspicious blazes that have happened in the neighborhood the past couple of months.

They have yet to find the person responsible.

“Now is the time to come forward with the information,” Bradberry said. “No one’s been seriously hurt. But what I fear, as well as the community out there, that there’s going to be that one time they set a fire to a home and somebody’s going to be in there and they’re not going to be able to get out.”

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the fires.

Anyone with information can call 1-800-382-4628 or write P.O. 80132 Indianapolis, IN 46280.

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