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kd5

Arsonist In My Midst

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I live in an apartment complex. Numerous buildings, 12 apartments per building. My apartment is right beside the laundryroom door, which has been pretty handy.......until now.

 

Last week, someone (don't know who) had just done their laundry. A couple of minutes later I went down to the laundry room, smelled smoke, opened the dryer, and someone had set fire to a paper towel that had been laying on top of the dryer, threw it inside the dryer, and closed the dryer door.

 

I notified the Office of the offense, then left the ashes in the dryer for 3 days, hoping someone would either "return to the scene of the crime", or someone from the Office would show up and raise hell about it. Finally, I had to do my laundry, so I cleaned up the mess and washed my clothes.

 

Earlier today (yesterday now...), I came home from the store, saw some gimpy-looking, skinny white guy with glasses doing his laundry. As I went to my apartment door he looked up at me from his position, beside a basket of clothes, in front of the dryer, and I got a real good look at him. His face is permanently etched in my mind.....

 

Not even 5 minutes later I went to the laundry room, he was gone, but in his place was a room full of smoke, and a dryer with a still smoldering newspaper laying in it.

 

I immediately called the Office.....:filtered:.....ranted and raved about the ignorance just committed.....again!.....and suggested in no uncertain terms that someone had better get over here.....NOW.

 

 

Now, I have no proof that this person was, in fact, the one who started this fire, or the fire from last week, as I did not actually witness him starting the fire. But I suspect, no.....I know in my gut that he is the person responsible.

 

But I have no proof.

 

 

I am seriously considering writing a note and taping it to the inside of the front door to my building for all (including him) to see. I am considering writing this:

 

 

To the individual responsible for setting two fires, in the dryer, in the laundry room downstairs,

 

Why do you hate us so badly that you feel you need to burn us out of our homes? If you do, in fact, hate us that badly, then please know this:

 

Your identity is known to us. If this should happen, ever again, we will have all the proof we need to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. We, all the tennants in this building, value our existence in this world and in our homes, and will do whatever it takes to stop you.

 

 

Do you think this will be effective? Thanks for your time, -kd5-

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Excellent notification, however, he sounds like an a****** that might be thrilled to get more attention and cause you more problems.

 

I think I would invest in a smoke alarm for the laundry room if it doesn't have one.

 

I would have to say that it is worth a shot to try to "reason" with a moron who is apparently looking for attention. Strange that he is keeping the fire contained that way, in the drier, seems he is not motivated to harm anyone.

Then again, it IS the smoke that kills most people in fires and not burns.

 

Sorry to hear about your situation and good luck ! *S*

 

Mary

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I can appreciate the possibility that he may not be motivated to actually harm anyone by starting the fires where he has.....up to this point. But I am concerned that I am living with a potential arsonist in my midst, and I must seriously consider whether or not my continued existence in this apartment is an absolute necessity.

 

I refuse to live in paranoia. :angry:

 

 

Thanks for your input Mary, it is much appreciated. -kd5-

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Get a compact video camera, (they can be rented) and hide it in the room somewhere that would capture him in action. Then take this evidence to the police department. I think that will stop the guy.

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Signman has a good idea with the camera one of those pinhole types would be good :mrwinky: Fire starters are trying to get attention if they don't wait around to watch it's not the thrill of watching the fire :( You are rightfully concerned as the problem can get worse until someone is hurt or killed by a fire :angry:

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Excuse me but your going about this all wrong.

 

Instead of calling the office,,which to me is laughable!!

 

Call the police dept!! they normally kinda frown on that kind of thing,,at least they do in these parts.

 

Good god ya have a description of the guy who may be doing it,,quit with the private eye stuff before someone,,you or a neighbor gets killed.

 

Just my opinion!!!

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Guest

I'd go straight to the police as well, this guy may be known to them and maybe they can show you some photos for you to pick him out.

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Forget calling the po-po first. You should call Ms. Cleo and then have her give you a description of who the perp might be. Then call the fuzz. If it's the correct person, you'll even get to give a testimonial in one of the Ms. Cleo commercials!

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Guest Donna

My first reaction would be to call the police and the fire dept, then the office. Especially when it has happened twice. Third time you could all be burnt.

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Guest zippy1

If all else fails, I'd grab the little bugger and throw him in the dryer :rolleyes:

 

does he reside there? if not report a tresspasser or something cause he could potentialy kill someone!! :angry:

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If you start havin the law show up , the office people will more than likely do something about the problem. They won't like having squad cars parked in thier lot, it's bad for business ;)

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The thought of police did come to mind at first but the lack of tangible evidence ... Perhaps if you did call them, they might patrol your building to a greater extent ?

 

You didn't say what happened after you told the office the second time ...

*seems they would take an active interest in destruction of their property and possible pending lawsuits ???

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You're right next to the laundry room? Got a webcam and a long cable? As they say, pictures are worth a 1000 words, specially in Court.

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Two things a webcam is the way to go. I would also consider contacting the police right now and advise them of the situation and intent to use a webcam. And thirdly I have a note for the door of the laundry room. To the guy setting fires in the laundry room...you are now being recorded, I would not set anymore fires, how ever if you choose to know you will be caught.

 

Lastly buy a smoke detector put it in the laundry room if there isn't one. Makes you safer, and if you put a camera on it and the knucklehead sees it and trashes it, at least in WI it is illegal to tamper with smoke detectors placed in a residential building...ie apartment building/dormitory.

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And if you can't do a webcam, make them think there is one... Put up a sign that says "Smile, you're on Candid Camera!"

 

Sometimes just the thought that they are being filmed is enough.

 

But most definately call the cops.

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Thank you all for your replies. After giving this some thought, I have come to several conclusions.

 

1. I need to contact the Police and/or Fire dept. just so I have it on record that the problem exists from a legal standpoint.

 

2. Without proof, the Police and/or Fire Dept. can't do much. I don't want them to come here and have me point the guy out, because since they can't do anything without proof anyway, now the guy has his next target, having been pointed out. If he is as unstable as some of you suggest he might be, what's to stop him from setting his next fire outside my apartment door or under my car.

 

3. I think a note is in order. Short and sweet. "To the guy setting fires in the laundry room: Your cover is blown. You are being watched. Next time you'll have the Police to deal with."

 

 

The 2nd time I called the office, the maintenance supervisor suggested that without proof there's not a whole lot they can do. And that was pretty much that.

 

I refuse to live in fear for my life. Things need to be done.......and quickly. -kd5-

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O.K., I coerced Management into putting a smoke detector in the laundry room, which is in place as I type this. And I have contacted the Police Dept. to make them aware a potential problem exists. They weren't real helpful, it comes back to having proof.

 

The only thing I haven't done is write the note and tape it to the inside of the front door. I think I'll take care of that right now....... -kd5-

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You might also try calling your local Fire Marshall. He\She would be the one who would investigate arson fires anyway, and I would bet they might be a little more helpful.

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I was thinking... if you post a note that there is surveillance, then he might just find someplace else to burn. That would be good for you and your neighbors, but bad for someone else. If it was me, I think I'd just try to catch him on video and turn it over to the police. Good luck with this. I hope it's not long before you can rest easy! :):)

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mmanya said:

 

The thought of police did come to mind at first but the lack of tangible evidence ...

That's true enough as far as it goes. But you should always make a record whenever you anticipate further problems -- Contact with your local PD could become evidence in and of itself. In fact, your correspondence here could conceivably be called as evidence in a court of law. Ax's combined advice to contact your FD and go to the top (the Fire Marshall) without delay is right on the mark.

 

I know this won't protect you in the short-term but I strongly suggest you keep all notes, records, emails, correspondence, observations and recollections in a dated file. That would include anything the authorities might say in response to your concerns. Even phone-calls.

I

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