New surveillance of man wanted in connection with Queens fires

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, December 9, 2015

FOREST HILLS, Queens (WABC) -- The NYPD has released new surveillance images of a man wanted for questioning in connection with the recent string of suspicious fires in Queens.

Police say the person of interest was observed walking eastbound on 69 Road in the vicinity of 112 Street and the Grand Central Parkway after the most recent fire, early Sunday.

Seven fires have broken out at homes under construction in Forest Hills. The latest was at a residential construction site on 69th Road that was also set on fire back on November 15.

The fire, which started about 12:30 a.m. and rose to two alarms, spread to nearby homes and took 150 firefighters to extinguish.

After the fire, the NYPD released a photo of a man on a motorcycle thought to be a person of interest, but he was interviewed and determined to be a passing first responder not linked to any of the fires.

Detectives are still looking for a man captured on surveillance in a fire on 67th Drive on November 25.

The NYPD says patrols have been stepped up in the area. "We believe that it's someone within the area, because that person disappears quickly into the neighborhood as soon as we track him after the fire," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. "It's unusual. "The usual pattern with arsonists use accelerant. Here, he is using materials at the scene."

Religious leaders from the community met at an impromptu meeting on Sunday, as all of the targeted homes are are Jewish-owned. Still, Boyce said that the fires are not believed to be a hate crime but rather fueled by opposition to the extensive renovation that is going on at all of the sites.

The reward has increased to $12,500 for the capture of the suspected arsonist.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers' website at htttp:// or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.