WYANDANCH, N.Y. — He has burned a car, a boat, a shed, fences and flags, and now Long Island residents say they're eager to have police arrest an arsonist before he’s able to strike again, in an even more dangerous way.
"How eager?" asked resident Charles Ancrum. "From one to 10? 15," he said.
His neighbors echoed Ancrum's sense of urgency. Anna Zhang lives in a house whose shed and back fence burned down last week. She said that police have made their presence felt in the community, but that they need to make an arrest. "Fast," she added, "in case he ends up [torching] a main house or something."
On Wednesday morning, somebody damaged six different businesses and homes between 2:55 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. in both Wyandanch and nearby Deer Park.
Residents also noticed that, sometime during the arson spree, somebody spray painted nearby mailboxes and streets, using red paint.
The spray paint was very similar to some used at a gas station in the area where a possible suspect in the arsons appeared at the cashier window of the Sunoco on Straight Path. He used a lighter to ignite the spray can spray, through the cashier's window.
The suspect may have lit all of the fires in the same manner.
In the case of the gas station, he also demanded $500 from the cash register. The night cashier refused him.
It all appears to be a situation with an escalating level of danger. Residents told PIX11 News that they hope that the suspect can be stopped before his crimes escalate further.
He "could start burning people's houses if they don't catch the guy," resident Anna Williams said.
There is one aspect of the crime spree that might be able to help lead investigators to the arsonist. If some or all of the incidents are connected, the red graffiti tags that the suspect made could provide a clue to his identity.
There is also some surveillance video of him, which police are analyzing now.