Crime Watch 8

Suspected arsonist of north-side home caught on camera; family offers $10K reward

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Disturbing surveillance video shows the moment a person set a home on fire on East 91st Street over the weekend.

Indianapolis Fire Department has ruled this an arson.

“Please help us,” you hear a woman scream as fire crews run toward her home that is engulfed in flames.

The homeowners were asleep inside when they were woken up by their dogs in the middle of the night to find their back patio on fire and quickly headed toward the inside of the home.

The family says they built their “forever home” three years ago only to wake up at 3:30 Saturday morning to see their dream go up in flames.

Zero, photo courtesy: Homeowners

The couple went to bed at 11:00 Friday night and were woken around 3:30 a.m. by their dog, Zero. They heard the sound of glass cracking and thought someone was trying to break in. When they got to the kitchen, they saw the room filled with yellow as smoke started to roll in.

Video courtesy: Homeowners

They were able to escape safely with all of their animals before the fire got inside the home.

“This is not an accident,” the woman told News 8 by phone on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy: Homeowners

The suspect is first seen in surveillance video approaching the back of the home and trying to set the fire at 3 a.m. Then the person seen in video returns at 3:30 when the fire hasn’t caught, only this time they watched to make sure the fire burned.

The homeowner said, “They stole my sense of safety and security.”

About a month before the fire, the couple’s wheelbarrow and hammock were stolen. Those items were later found in a field behind their house, the same field where the arsonist ran after setting the fire. They also made a report with police recently after fireworks were pointed toward their home.

The couple says between 7:30 Saturday night after the fire and 8:00 a.m. Sunday, the house was also burglarized. They say that a thief stole jewelry, wine and archery equipment from their garage and inside their home, where the fire hadn’t reached. They found the items in the same field where the other items were found.

Right now, investigators have not connected the two incidents.

The family is currently offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.