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Young teens tracked to rash of arson fires

Date Posted: 2012-03-02

Tomigusuku Police think they’ve closed the book on a series of arsons, arresting three 13-year-old boys.

Arson had been suspected from the first fire set in an apartment complex parking lot, then spreading to other nearby locations in Tomigusuku’s Madanbashi district late January and early February. No injuries were reported, but there was damage to property.

Three junior high school boys have been taken into custody, but because the three are under the age of 14, they’re considered juvenile offenders and have been handed over to the Child Consultation Center. The three have all admitted to the charges.

Police say the first incidents were three fires in the Kohagura district of Naha City January 29th. Okinawa Prefectural Police began investigating the possibility the boys had a hand in all of the crimes. The boys burned a motorcycle in the Kagamihara district of Naha City, as well as the front cover of a motorcycle on the road in Madanbashi district on February 10th. From there, police say the boys moved to an apartment building parking lot several hundred meters away, then setting another fire that ultimately burned six motorcycles, while causing heat damage to another motorcycle plus two cars.

The three boys attend different schools, and police first began suspecting them while investigating a theft case. When questioned, the boys confessed to setting the fires. They told authorities “we tried to steal a motorcycle, but couldn’t, so we set them on fire with a lighter.” The boys are denying involvement in some of the incidents.

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