Residents say Garfield Park arson follows string of suspicious incidents

Garfield Park arson

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A string of unsolved incidents in the Garfield Park neighborhood southeast of downtown have prompted some residents to move.

Neighbors unwilling to uproot their families resorted to arming themselves and installing additional home security, they said.

The fires, broken vehicle windows, damaged property and threats were first reported in August and were localized to the 1200 block of Finley Avenue, according to residents.

The latest incident — a porch fire early Tuesday morning at 1202 Finley Ave — was being investigated by arson detectives, Indianapolis police said.

The fire was set intentionally, a fire department spokesperson told News 8.

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Although the incident was reported at a vacant home and resulted in no injuries, neighbors said they feared for their lives.

“This has been going on for the entirety of the summer on this block,” said Mike Angel, whose close friends fled Finley Avenue after their home caught fire. “[A man who lives on this block] has threatened to harm or kill people on this street.”

At least five residents named the same neighbor when asked who they believed was responsible for the porch fire.

He was heard threatening to “light up the neighborhood” Monday night and later seen recording video of the blaze, according to a witness who requested not to be identified in this report.

“I ran and got two pails of water to put out the flames and he was just standing in front of the fire with his phone out,” the witness said.

Angel “staked out” the block and spent hours observing the man’s behavior after his friends expressed their concerns to him.

“I’ve seen [the man] at night wearing a mask and hood,” he told News 8. “My friends and I were watching him one night and he almost smashed out a car window. When he saw us, he put down the rock and walked away slowly.”

Angel urged authorities to investigate before any residents, including the man in question, were injured.

Police declined to confirm if any arrests were made Tuesday.