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Indications are two sets of arsonists working area; $10,000 reward offered

By all indications, two sets of arsonists are working the Barnesville area and you can take home $10,000 for providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of any of those involved. According to fire chief Steve Andrews, the arsonists can be divided into two groups: the walkers and the riders. The walkers are responsible for a rash of fires in a three block long area of Atlanta Street. An unoccupied home at 302 Atlanta Street was set ablaze on the night of Feb. 29. Monday night, two cars were torched. Tuesday night a third car was burned at an apartment complex on Olivia Lane. Also Tuesday, a bag of leaves under the porch of an occupied home was set ablaze.There have been others. ”We need to shut this group down because several of these homes were occupied. This is a serious life hazard situation. They may be juveniles. We have been lucky so far because it is a high traffic area and the fires got reported quickly,” chief Andrews said Wednesday morning. The riders have been giving firefighters fits on weekends, setting woods and brush fires. They are suspected of a blaze at the old Booker School, also on the night of Feb. 29. One of the grass fires was at College Manor. Chief Andrews said the old Booker complex had been the scene of an earlier grass fire. ”The city had it staked out but they left on another call and the fire was set while they were gone. So we think it is somebody monitoring their radios. Either way, it is serious. We are urging people to call 911 if they see anything suspicious,” Andrews said. Andrews noted he did not think Monday’s bomb threat at Rose’s was tied to the arsonists. The arson hotline that leads to the reward is 1.800.282.5804. Your information will be kept confidential. BPD investigators Al Moltrum and Ernie McWhorter are working the case. Moltrum reported Wednesday the fire at 302 Atlanta St. has been confirmed as an arson and that investigators have worked 14 set fires since Valentine’s Day. ”We’ve got some persons of interest to talk to. They are escalating. They went from grass fires to house fires. They are getting really brave. We were working one at 237 Atlanta Street last (Tuesday) night and while we were there, they set another fire just a block away,” Moltrum said. As for the Rose’s bomb threat, Moltrum said they are working through cell phone records with regard to that investigation

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