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Rash of arsons leads to reward

Treasure Island has been plagued for months with fires set in vacant or abandoned houses and outside motels.

By AMY WIMMER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 5, 2003


TREASURE ISLAND -- A string of arsons on the island has led the state to offer a $2,500 reward for information that could help in the investigation.

The arson targets were vacant or abandoned houses, the outsides of vacant motel rooms and one vacant commercial building, but many of the fires were close to occupied motel units.

"This has been going on for some time," Treasure Island police Chief Joe Pelkington said, "and at some point we said, 'We've got to make this public.' "

A list of the suspected arsons provided by the Treasure Island Police Department includes:

4:14 a.m. Aug. 28, house at 12708 Lagoon Lane.

12:48 a.m. Sept. 30, commercial building at 11595 Gulf Blvd.

12:14 a.m. Oct. 10, house at 12708 Lagoon Lane.

12:16 a.m. Oct. 21, house at 116 120th Ave.

11:44 p.m. Nov. 20, townhouse at 145 117th Ave., No. 4.

9:03 p.m. Dec. 4, commercial building at 11800 Gulf Blvd.

Between 5 p.m. Dec. 4 and 1:08 p.m. Dec. 10, commercial building at 11300 Gulf Blvd.

Between 6 p.m. Jan. 10 and 11 a.m. Jan. 11, commercial building at 12321 Gulf Blvd.

12:51 a.m. Jan. 11, commercial building at 12000 Gulf Blvd.

The Treasure Island Police Department encourages business people, motel managers and residents to avoid leaving items such as furniture, wood and flammable liquids available for someone to start a fire.

The investigation is being conducted by the Treasure Island Police Department, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the state fire marshal and the Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach fire departments.

Anyone with information that might help with this investigation should call the Treasure Island Police Department at 547-4592 or 547-4595.

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