Redmond detectives are investigating a series of arson incidents that have occurred throughout the Education Hill and Downtown neighborhoods during the last week of September.
Officers have responded to seven separate but related fires set inside vehicles since Sept. 24. All but one of the fires were minor and had already gone out by the following morning, when most of the victims discovered the damage.
The victims seem to be randomly chosen, according to police, and fire investigators have not found any evidence suggesting the suspect used an accelerant, such as gasoline.
The largest and most recent fire occurred in the early hours of Sept. 28, and completely engulfed the vehicle in flames, spreading even to the covered parking structure on the 17200 block of Northeast 85th Place. Police and fire crews responded and extinguish the fire quickly.
Police found evidence of an additional small fire in another vehicle nearby. The suspect seems to simply start the fires using paper or a similar fuel.
“The good news is that there have been no new incidents reported since the 28th,” said Andrea Wolf-Buck, Redmond Police Department’s public information officer. “The bad news is that we haven’t arrested anyone. But a lot of evidence has been gathered from the scenes and detectives are busy [investigating].”
RPD also received reports of four vehicle prowls with small fires set inside sometime during Sept. 23 and 24 in the neighborhood around Northeast 79th Street and 170th Avenue Northeast.
There is no connection between the victims or vehicles targeted, other than that they were within a small area of each other. Presumably this was for convenience, Wolf-Buck said, adding that each vehicle was also unlocked.
The unknown suspects have not taken anything of value from the cars.
“This one is definitely an unusual series of [vehicle crimes] in Redmond. Locking your car, that would be a good way to start [protecting yourself],” Wolf-Buck said. “I know we say this a lot, but call police right away if you see someone acting suspiciously. Please pass that along, sometimes even really small tips can help.”
Redmond fire investigators and police detectives are continuing to investigate this case. Officials ask for people to call police immediately if they see anyone acting suspiciously in their neighborhoods. Any tips about these incidents can be reported 24 hours a day to the non-emergency line at425-556-2500.
“Lock your cars and let us know,” Wolf-Buck said. “We’re working on this case and hopefully something will come of it soon.”