Philadelphia Police hope a $15,000 reward helps them track down the would-be arsonist who tried to torch a garage below a Philadelphia police and fire station.
“The male saturates a sheet and other items in an ignitable liquid forming a path to the vehicles,” Philadelphia police said about the Aug. 9 incident below the 12th Police District, Engine 40 Firehouse, and Philadelphia Streets Department located at 6448 Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, ATF Philadelphia Field Division, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 and the Philadelphia Firefighter’s and Paramedic’s Union, Local 22, announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the would-be arsonist.
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Around 5:30 a.m. a worker smelled a strong odor of gasoline coming from the building. Investigators then found empty gasoline cans and a shirt, sheet and boots covered in fuel, police said.
What scared the firebug – his face covered with a bed sheet and wearing blue jeans faded below the knee and white sneakers when he first entered the garage – off wasn’t clear. Surveillance cameras captured him entering and exiting the garage six times over a one hour period starting around 4:15 a.m., coming back at one point with a baby stroller that he later ditched.
The man had a unique walk as he went to and from the garage. Police were able to determine he is a man in his late 30s with a beard thanks to the sheet falling from his face for a moment.
He eventually left the garage barefoot, his sneakers nowhere to be found.
Police say the suspect could be homeless and could be known to resident of the area.
"This attempted arson of these vehicles located underneath a city-owned building is a serious and dangerous act that potentially threatened the safety of the employees of that building," ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Sam Rabadi said. "ATF and our partners from the Philadelphia Police Department and Fire Marshals Office will use every available resource to identify and apprehend this perpetrator. We are asking the public to provide any information that would lead investigators to the person responsible for this attempted arson."
Anyone with information on the arson can call the ATF 24/7 hotline at 188-283-3473 or email a link to ATFTips@atf.gov.