The Roseville Police and Fire Departments have responded to an increased number of arson fires and explosive device incidents recently. Most of the incidents have occurred on school campuses at night and on weekends, and some appear to have been intended as juvenile pranks. For example:
• On several occasions this year, someone used a lighter, torch or something similar to damage bathroom signs at Catheryn Gates Elementary School on Trehowell Drive.
• On May 31, officers arrested a 17-year-old male from Lincoln on suspicion of deliberately setting a grass fire in a well-used open space area of Mahany Park.
• At 10:45 p.m. Monday June 16, firefighters and officers responded to a report of someone lighting something on fire at the Silverado Middle School basketball courts. Firefighters found an extinguished Molotov cocktail. A group of teenagers were hanging out on campus at the same time, but all denied any involvement. Fortunately the device didn’t set fire to the surrounding vegetation areas.
• At 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, someone threw at least one acid bomb--a homemade incendiary device made of common household items-- in the 2100 block of Petruchio Way. Residents of the area called police about the loud noise, which sounded like gunshots. Fortunately so far no one has reported any injuries or property damage.
These aren’t harmless pranks. The Fire Department expects this to be a bad fire season due to the drought and extremely dry conditions. A “prank” could quickly turn into an out-of-control fire and cause tremendous damage. Homemade incendiary devices like Molotov cocktails and acid bombs are unpredictable and sometimes cause serious injuries both to the device maker and innocent parties.
We’re asking for the public’s help in solving these crimes and preventing future ones.
First, if you have any information about these or any other unsolved arson incidents in Roseville, please call Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-STOP (7867), or submit a crime tip online by visiting the Roseville Police Department's website at www.roseville.ca.us/police and selecting "Submit a Tip" from the menu on the left. You'll be redirected to TipSoft's website. Wireless phone users can text a tip to 274637 ("CRIMES"). Start your tip with the word "ROSEVILLE". Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.
Second, since school campuses are frequent targets over the summer, please keep extra eyes and ears out, and call police immediately to report any after-hours trespassers or other suspicious activity on our campuses. Try to get as much information to the dispatcher as possible, especially any vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers.
Finally, parents should exercise good supervision during these vacation months. If you suspect your child is out “pranking,” talk to him or her about the serious consequences—including the fact that you as parents could be held financially responsible for any injuries or property damage. If parents are concerned that their child has an unusual interest in starting fires, we encourage them to call the Firefighters Burn Institute’s Youth Firesetters Program at 888-452-SAFE (7233). The Roseville Fire Department works in partnership with this Sacramento-based program and helps assess Roseville youth referred to the program. The institute offers a slate of age-appropriate programs for youth between the ages of 5 and 17.”