Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another arrest made in police-car arsons

3 juveniles face arson conspiracy charges


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office reported Monday that a third juvenile has been arrested in connection with attempts to torch two police vehicles in Hailey last year.

The Sheriff's Office declined to release the name of the suspect because of his juvenile status, but reported that he is 17 and voluntarily surrendered to police on Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sheriff Gene Ramsey said the youth is charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree arson.

Two other 17-year-old boys were arrested Oct. 28 and charged with the same crime, plus a felony count each of intimidation of a witness.

Court files on the juveniles remain sealed and are unavailable for public review.

The three arrests came about 10 months after attempts were made on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 to set police vehicles on fire while the cars were parked at officers' homes in Hailey. Investigation was by a task force composed of the Sheriff's Office and the Hailey and Ketchum police departments. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted by analyzing forensics evidence and offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and prosecution of those responsible.

Police have declined to discuss either a possible motive for the attempted arsons or how they were led to the three juveniles that have been charged.

"We're still following up leads and I believe there may be more arrests," Ramsey said. "This is a serious crime when you start trying to burn cars.

"But they're some local kids and they just made some bad choices. Arson is a terrible crime that just doesn't sit well with me. Deep down, I think, they realize it was wrong."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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