Archives For Arson
Five fires put out overnight
Fire officials are offering a reward for information after five fires were reportedly intentionally set in Southbridge over the weekend.
The overnight fires damaged homes at 44, 45 and 46 Cohasee St;, Oakridge Street and 173 Everett St, according to the state fire marshal. No injuries were reported.
“Neighbors should keep an eye on each other’s property and report any suspicious activity,” Southbridge Fire Chief Mark DiFronzo said.
An award of up to $5,000 is available for anyone with information that helps solve the arson crime. The number for the statewide Arson Hotline is 1-800-682-9229.
Man, stepson accused in crime spree in southeastern Massachusetts
BOSTON — More than a dozen fire chiefs are preparing to protest a plea deal for two arson suspects accused in a devastating crime spree in southeastern Massachusetts.
Prosecutors say 46-year-old Mark Sargent and his 24-year-old stepson, Jeanmarie Louis, are linked to more than two dozen fires that were set in 2012.
In court Thursday, a judge offered three years in exchange for a guilty plea, but state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says that’s not enough time.
“I am outraged at the plea deal offered,” Coan said in a statement. “Arson fires take a toll on our firefighters and are the type of fires that cause the most firefighter injuries. Arson fires tear at the very fabric of a community, burdening public safety resources, affecting tax revenues, jobs and creating blight.”
The district attorney asked for eight to 12 years, and Coan said that would be more fair.
Judge Carol Ball offered Sargent a prison sentence of two to three years and Louis a sentence of two and a-half years in exchange for guilty pleas.
“I understand what judge was saying and where she was coming from with sentencing guidelines. But I believe that she did state that she did pick most likely the middle of the road on the sentencing and she did state as we all know, there were approximately 30 fires in southeastern Massachusetts which they may have been linked to. We definitely would have preferred a sentence of the maximum,” said Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno, who is president of Fire Chief’s Association of Plymouth County.
“The charge of arson violates your home it violates your business it violates your soul,” Grenno said. “For the judge to take the medium pathway of an arson charge is disrespectful to the fire service and fire investigators.”
Ralph Pratt’s boat was burned at Taylor’s Boatyard fire. He spoke after sentencing.
“I’m extremely disappointed with the sentence. It just doesn’t seem like it fits the crime. Anyway you cut it, three fires, seems like they got one year for each fire. The total monetary loss was $600,000. What’s the going rate? I don’t understand the sentencing guidelines,” he said.
“For the crimes that they did, the three different fires, they are dangerous. They put people’s lives at risk, the firefighters, the regular community, and I think they needed more time than that. But having said that, we deal with what we deal with,” District Attorney Tim Cruz said.
Harry Carl Mapps was arrested Saturday night in a local, state and federal operation in Roland, Okla. The wound under his eye wasn’t explained.
A handyman accused of killing all three members of the family he lived with and burning down their Colorado home was in custody Sunday in Oklahoma after a month-long nationwide manhunt, authorities said.
Harry Carl Mapps, 59, was arrested Saturday night in Roland, Okla., the Pueblo County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office said in a brief statement.
He is charged with shooting and killing Reggie Tuttle, 51; his wife, Kim Tuttle, 55; and their daughter, Dawn Roderick, 33. The bodies were found in the Tuttles’ home in Rye, in Pueblo County, after the house burned down Nov. 27.
Investigators later said they’d all been shot to death.
Besides the three first-degree murder counts, Mapps — who lived with the family and worked for Reggie Tuttle’s trucking company — was also charged with arson, identity theft, forgery and theft, as well as a federal count of unlawful flight. All of the charges are felonies.
Mapps was held without bond pending extradition to Colorado.
“There are a lot of people who will breathe easier knowing Harry Carl Mapps is in custody,” Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said. “While our work isn’t done, there is certainly satisfaction in knowing we can begin this next phase of the case.”
Details were scarce because the arrest documents were sealed — without explanation.
The Pueblo sheriff’s office said only that Mapps was captured Saturday night in an “operation” conducted by deputy U.S. marshals, the marshals’ Violent Crimes Task Force for eastern Oklahoma, the state Highway Patrol and Roland police.
The nature of the operation wasn’t disclosed, and in his arrest photo, Mapps had a unexplained, large and bloody wound underneath his right eye.
Federal authorities had suspected Mapps as early as Nov. 30, and they weaved a nationwide dragnet to nab him. The sheriff’s statement said he was found based on information developed in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.