Reward offered for conviction of arsonists

Arson Hotline file illustration

Arson Hotline file illustration

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — An offer of a reward and community input landed two 16-year-old boys in jail Thursday suspected of setting fires to businesses’ vehicles and a trailer in the 3100 block of Olympia Drive, Lafayette police said.

The teens are booked on suspicion of arson, which would be a Level 4 felony if committed by an adult.

“We want to express our appreciation to those in our community who assisted us by providing valuable information,” Lafayette police Lt. Justin Hartman wrote in a news release.

“The string of arsons began on Sept. 17, 2022, with the most recent incident occurring on Jan. 2, 2023. Five separate incidents resulted in multiple vehicles, trailers, and other property being damaged by the fires,” Hartman stated in the release published Thursday night.

Four days before the first arson, someone broke into businesses’ fenced in areas and took a forklift for a joy ride, causing damage to two businesses, according to Lafayette police, who have not said whether the arsons are related to the Sept. 13 incidents.

The latest arson was about 4:10 a.m. Monday when a trash truck driver reported a vehicle on fire in the 3100 block of Olympia Drive, which is west of Concord Road and north of Veterans Memorial Parkway on Lafayette’s south side.

Lafayette police and fire investigators continue to investigate two business arsons of vehicles and detached garages from September. A week before the September fires, someone broke into businesses’ fenced-in area, where they stole a forklift, drove it through a fence and damaged vehicles.

More:Burglar steals forklift, truck and wreaks havoc on Olympia Drive businesses

More:Two cases of arson on Olympia Drive over the weekend; arsonists still at large

On Wednesday, Lafayette police and fire investigators announced a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of the people believed to be responsible for the fires. The reward news release included photos of the suspects, which the J&C has removed because they are now known to be juveniles.

They still request anyone with information about the fires may call the Arson Hotline at 800-382-4628 to leave their information.

Reach Ron Wilkins at Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Teen arson suspects arrested after reward offered for convictions