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Suspected Serial Arsonist Back At Work In SW Miami-Dade

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the second time in less than a week, an apparent serial arsonist has struck on a short stretch along Miller Drive in Southwest Miami-Dade.

The most recent blaze was set in the same parking lot where the first of four vehicles were torched last Thursday in the wee hours.

Residents fear a firebug is at work, and worry what he might do next.

Sean Capote Thursday surveyed his burned out, Ford Excursion SUV.  It was burned before dawn Wednesday in the parking lot of the building where he works on Miller Drive.

“It’s a shame, man.  People are fearing for their lives, it’s insane,” Capote said.

The fear is because in the same parking lot where his SUV was set afire, another SUV was deliberately burned in the early morning hours last Thursday.

That same morning, five blocks away on Miller Drive, a Jaguar and a Chevy were burned at an auto repair shop, and just off Miller a pickup truck was set afire in the driveway of a home.

“We have to catch the perpetrator, because if not they’re going to keep on doing it,” Capote said.

It started last week with the SUV arson at Miller and 102nd Avenue.

Then the two cars torched at Miller and 107th Avenue, then the pickup at 104th Avenue just South of Miller.

And now a second SUV has been torched at the very spot where the spree began last week.

Security video showed a person tossing a device on the first SUV last week, flames erupting quickly into a fireball.

At the auto shop, security video shows a device exploding on the Chevy, and seconds later another erupting on the Jaguar.  A figure can barely be made out, dashing off in the dark.

Security video shows the apparent arsonist in a dark shirt and baggy shorts arriving at the scene of Wednesday morning’s fire, and moments later running away.

The video doesn’t show the actual car burning, but the parking lot is lit up like daylight as the SUV erupts in flames.

“Obviously this person enjoys doing this on a regular basis,” said Jason Dettbarn, whose pickup was torched last Thursday, a fire so intense it almost set his home on fire.

“What’s next,” Dettbarn wondered Thursday as he visited the site of the most recent blaze.  “We’ve got another car fire coming, for sure, maybe tonight, maybe a couple of days from now, or maybe it could be a structure. Who knows what’s next.”

Police can’t say for certain that the same person set all the fires but area residents have no doubt.

Arsonists notoriously return to the scene of their crimes, and operate in the same area.

The security videos reveal a man, or possibly teenager, of apparently similar height and build in each of the incidents.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS(8477).

More from Gary Nelson
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