Allston Flamer returns: Pickup set on fire

Remains of the truck. Photo by BFD.Remains of the truck. Photo by BFD.

The Boston Fire Department reports a Ford Ranger pickup oarked in a driveway burst into flames shortly before 7 a.m. on Highgate Street, not far from where a series of cars were torched in August and September.

Fire investigators ruled the fire arson. Boston Police report the suspect is white, in his 20s, with brown hair. He was wearing a blue/gray ski cap and a gray pea coat.

Anyone with info can contact arson investigators at 617-343-3324.

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Neighborhood web cam project?

Would it be possible to get people living in this area to set up web cams to watch areas where this arsonist is known to strike? Like, the off street parking areas and driveways?

Since these crimes appear to be entirely on private property, I don't see that it would cause much of an issue with "surveillance" of anything other than one's own vehicle.

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My truck

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That's my truck. It's been a sucky morning.

Is enough being done to catch this nut?

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Sorry, man. I'm all for letting you have a shot or two at this guy before he eventually goes to prison. I'm happy that you were at least able to post though.

With respect to the surveillance issue, there is absolutely no reason why there could not be video surveillance put up in the area as I have previously suggested, and it is probably an ideal area for some of those "tower cams" that the T police and others have used recently.

I still cannot get over the brazenness of this person, and I'm beginning to wonder about the resources being devoted to catching him/her. Haven't almost all of these (excepting the one near the Newton line above Oak Sq.) been in a 1 or two block radius and on either late night/early morning on Thurs., Friday, Sat. or Sunday? The m.o. seems pretty consistent as well. Are the cops just missing this person each time, or is there not enough manpower down there during the days and times at which this has historically happened?

If I lived down there I'd be screaming for the Commissioner and Mayor to blanket the area with undercover cops until this wacko is caught and before he lights up an entire building. Without intending to ignite the tired class war discussion, I must say that I believe that is precisely what would be happening if cars in the back alleys in the Back Bay were being torched.

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To Ryan, that really sucks

To Ryan, that really sucks that it was your truck.

Unfortunately, even though those are great ideas on how to stop this and catch the guy, they arent really feasible. Yeah it would be awesome to saturate the area with cops, but there just arent enough cops to do that and still keep the rest of the district safe. If the arson was happened one after another it would be simple and they would do it, but this guy is striking randomly. He hadn't done anything in a month (if its the same guy, they will have to determine that too), so they would have had cops tied up for over a month before they possibly caught the guy. Remember cops are human, and unless you literally have one on every block that the crime could happen on, you cant guarantee that merely being there will stop the crimes. If anything it could push the guy to go elsewhere when he strikes next.

What it really takes is the residents being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity. As much as I hate the way they have gone about "See Something Say Something". I honestly think that this guy strikes in the mornings on weekends because most of the area is populated by college students, many of which are partying late at night, or even if they arent, they might still be sleeping after the sun comes up. Being drunk or asleep both make you a horrible witness.

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The story says there were

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The story says there were witnesses and they supplied a description. Unfortunately, it seems to be too vague to be useful.

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Description: mini Dexter

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I saw him fleeing from my burning car, luckily a rental, a month ago. Hours after my police report I was picked up and driven by two suspects matching my given description perfectly. The first I was iffy on but the second, ironically pulled over in front of budget where I rented the car, was my boy. I was out of my seat with certainty but somehow this was not enough as I went home feeling no better than when they picked me up. I always lock my car, it was a rental so maybe by chance I didn't and guess I couldn't have. I also just happened to have two iPods in the car, the only time I ever just happened to have both in the car.

I did see the guy though, I know around where he lives and I know what style of vehicle he drives. The kid, earlish 20's, looks like a mini dexter from TV's Dexter with an unmistakeable cocky smirk to go along. Brownish but more blond in the sun hair, wavy to the brow and mopped to the neck. He drives a black S.U.V more on the older side, like 6 years old maybe. I believe I overheard the address in the ashford terrace / wadsworth st area. Happy hunting!

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What?

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If I understand correctly, you were escorted by the police and you spotted the suspect, but that was not enough? What did you tell them?

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I told them that I was 100%

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I told them that I was 100% it was him and that I would pick him out of a line up. They even found an iPod touch on the kid but the cop wouldn't let me check it because I didn't off hand know what model it was. The fire team that inspected the car was letting details slip of the other victim that day but they didn't know which victim I was so i wasn't sure if it was my own or the others details being discussed.

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Huh

Interesting - the last arsons I (or the Boston Fire Department) know of in the neighborhood were the
three in one morning on September 24, none of which were anywhere near Highgate. When was your car burned? And what do you mean about a second victim?

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Arsonist's pattern

Haven't almost all of these (excepting the one near the Newton line above Oak Sq.) been in a 1 or two block radius and on either late night/early morning on Thurs., Friday, Sat. or Sunday? The m.o. seems pretty consistent as well.

Actually, all of the fires have been on Saturday & Sunday mornings, all of them in early morning daylight, between about 7 and 10 AM, and all of them cars that were parked off the street. (The Oak Square car fire doesn't fit that m.o., but I'm not entirely convinced that it was burned by the same person since it's such a total outlier in a very specific geographical pattern.)

One other piece of information that I learned from a couple of TV reports on yesterday's fire: the truck was reportedly not locked. At least one report suggested that some or all of the other cars that had been burned in August and September had also been left unlocked. Frankly, I'm flabbergasted that anyone would leave their vehicle unlocked and unattended for ten minutes, let alone overnight, in this neighborhood.

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my car (higgins st) was also

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my car (higgins st) was also torched on the night of 10/27/12. They chose not to give my car coverage apparently, it was also in a private driveway tucked behind my apartment building.

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Location