An arsonist has been terrorizing a neighborhood over the past week. Several cars have been set on fire in a short span of time in the south Florida town of Lauderhill, and residents fear their homes may be next. This particular neighborhood is considered quiet and not known as a high crime area. 

Local police were searching for at least one suspect, but there may be multiple arsonists responsible for the crime spree. At this point, there is no known motive and police do not know where to begin to look for answers. 

The first target was a green Dodge Charger sedan that was parked directly outside of a home. Next, a black Infiniti that was parked close to where the first fire was set was found on fire four days later. The day following that, the arsonist attempted to set the home that was closest to the Infiniti on fire. Pictures from the scene show the front ends of the cars totally charred. 

Residents in the area expressed concern that their homes might also end up engulfed in flames. At least one of the fires did almost catch onto a home near where the burning car was located. One of the victims said she woke up early on Tuesday morning and was surprised by the blaze. Her and her family had been sleeping and they notified the police immediately. The owner of the Dodge also expressed concern that his family might be harmed. Others in the area have spoken with the police because they feel their lives are in danger.   

Broward County police have had to return to the same area four times within a week to take pictures and look for any evidence or clues to help them learn the identity of the suspect. The preliminary steps of the arson investigation have also begun, with a lab analysis of some of the materials recovered from the debris. The local fire department is testing the substance that was used to ignite the fire, in order to get a better idea of how these fires are being started and where the suspect might be getting materials. The state of Florida is sending marshalls to assist the Lauderhill police and fire departments in their investigation.    

Lauderhill is a town in the Miami metro area that is just west of Fort Lauderdale. Broward Crime Stoppers is asking for tips from the public to assist in their investigation.  

Procedures when a suspect is charged with several serious crimes

When someone is charged with multiple crimes, they will need to retain a criminal defense attorney to make sure the state can prove the charges beyond all reasonable doubt. This is one of the reasons why the state is careful to conduct a thorough and exhaustive investigation. Much of what they find will be introduced in court to prove the defendant’s guilt and connection to the arson. 

Some lawyers who practice in this area focus on defending against serious felonies and capital crimes. They also attempt to rule out causes such as mistaken identity, wrongful arrest, planted evidence, and other mistakes or misconduct. These problems weaken the integrity of the criminal justice system. This is why investigators and prosecutors need to make a compelling case that will ensure the suspect is caught and convicted.  

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