Thursday, February 02, 2006

Man Angry Over Breakup Torches Houses

A Houston-area man confessed to starting more than 15 fires because of a bad breakup, officials told KPRC Local 2 Tuesday.

Matthew White, 24, is accused of torching homes under construction and setting grass fires in Houston, Harris County, and Montgomery County over the past two weeks, causing more than $2 million in damage. He was charged with two counts of felony arson in Harris County.

"The neighbors were scared. The residents were scared. They didn't know what house was going to be next. It was just one after another -- houses being completely destroyed," said Dusty Deutsch, with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

Investigators said White was nabbed when he returned to the scene of one fire set late at night.

"Usually late at night in an area that is under construction, there's not a whole lot of reasons to be there anyway," said Deputy Lisa Scheperd, with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office.

Evidence was found in White's car, according to authorities.

"Officers recovered a pipe wrench used to open up a fire hydrant. They also recovered a loaded handgun, several ignition devices, in other words, lighters, portable lighters," Deutsch said.

Charges in Montgomery County are pending.



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