Crime Watch 8

Firefighter in Whiteland arrested after 3 arsons overnight

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A Johnson County man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly set multiple homes under construction on fire Wednesday morning in Johnson County, according to the Franklin Police Department.

Jake Dougherty, 18, of Needham, is facing three counts of arson, one count of OWI, one count of possession of paraphernalia, one count of possession of marijuana and one count of consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Dougherty is a firefighter at Whiteland Fire Department. He became a firefighter with the department in February, Whiteland Fire Department said in a release to News 8.

“Mr. Dougherty has been placed on a five day suspension in the pursuit of termination from the Whiteland Fire Department,” the department said in the release.

Police believe Dougherty is responsible for setting multiple fires at homes under construction in Johnson County including:

  • Intersection of Campus Lane and Shirk Way Street, Greenwood, Ind. around 2:44 a.m.
  • 200 Block of Darrough Drive, Greenwood, Ind. around 4:24 a.m.
  • Cul-de-sac of Wild Turkey Run, Whiteland, Ind. around 7:31 a.m.

Police say another fire at a home under construction in the 2000 block of Byerly Place in Greenwood that happened just before 8 a.m. was not believed to be set by Dougherty.

News 8 captured drone footage of the four fires. App users can view it online.

Franklin Police Department officers took a report Wednesday morning of a red Dodge Avenger driving erratically on U.S. 31. Officers located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop.

Officers determined the driver, Dougherty, was impaired and arranged for his transport to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin. Officers noticed a smell of gasoline coming from Dougherty and that he had dark-colored soot on his skin and clothing.

Investigators interviewed Dougherty and determined they had probable cause to believe he was involved in setting the fires.