DETROIT (WWJ) – They’re upping the ante to catch an arsonist.
ATF is now offering a $5,000 reward for the tip that leads to those responsible for a series of fires at the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.
Special Agent Donald Dawkins, Metro-Detroit information officer for the ATF, says the public could be the difference maker in solving this case.
“We know someone knows,” Dawkins told WWJ Newsradio 950. “We know … someone knows the person or persons that, you know, committed this crime. We’d just like them to come forward.”
“You know, $5,000 (for the tip) leading to an arrest and conviction is there for you,” he said. “We just need your assistance.”
There have been seven fires at the Heidelberg Project since May, and ATF experts — with the help of the Detroit Fire Department Arson Unit — have determined each was the work of an arsonist.
There have been no arrests in the case.
Early in the morning of Nov. 28, War House — on Elba Street near Mt. Elliott — was set aflame, and a person in dark clothing was seen running from the scene. The house was completely destroyed.
On Nov. 12, fire completely ravaged the House of Soul, which was covered in hundreds of old vinyl albums.
In May, the Obstruction of Justice House was heavily damaged by fire, leaving behind just a pile of rubble. In early October, fire consumed what remained of the OJ House. Two other small fires were also reported earlier in October, which caused smoke damage to the Penny House and the Numbers House.
The Heidelberg Project — an exhibit that converts abandoned homes into art — is a popular destination for locals and visitors, and has been featured in numerous films and TV shows. Artist Tyree Guyton has described the project as an open-air art environment where discarded objects are used to create a two-block area full of color, symbolism and intrigue.
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