Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Police charge Celina man in vehicle fires
Suspect in jail on $100K bond
By Margie Wuebker
CELINA - A local man faces arson charges stemming from vehicle fires early Tuesday morning in the northeast part of the city.
Celina Police arrested Ridge A. Matthews, 19, 5382 Lakeside Drive, Wednesday afternoon in connection with the incidents. He remains incarcerated at the Mercer County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond pending an initial appearance at 9 a.m. Friday in Celina Municipal Court.
The investigation into the four fires and reported vandalism in the same neighborhood is continuing, Celina Interim Police Chief Cal Freeman said this morning.
"We believe the incidents may be related and we want to determine whether the same players were involved," he added.
Police officers went door to door throughout the neighborhood talking with residents following the fires reported Tuesday morning.
According to information filed in municipal court, authorities identified several possible suspects. Matthews was asked to come to the police department Wednesday and reportedly admitted starting fires with a lighter in two vehicles - a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am on Kensington Court and a 2000 Ford F150 pickup truck on Meadowview Drive. Court paperwork indicated the damage to each vehicle exceeds $1,000.
If convicted of the fourth-degree felony charges, Matthews faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on each count.
Two other vehicles were damaged early Tuesday morning, one in the 1600 block of Queensbury Drive and another on Meadowview Drive.
Police continue to investigate vandalism to vehicles, assorted items and a swimming pool in the same general area - some of which occurred Tuesday morning and others over the weekend, according to Freeman.
Anyone who spotted suspicious activity in the area is asked to call the police department at 419-586-2345; the fire department at 419-586-2127 or the fire marshal's office at 800-589-2728.
Information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible may lead to a $5,000 reward from the state's Blue Ribbon Arson Committee.