Police investigate 2 arsons in Newton

COVINGTON - Two cases of arson were reported last week, according to the Newton County Fire Service.

Lt. Brad Stapp said a vehicle fire occurring on April 2 and an apartment fire on April 3 are both under investigation.

He said the vehicle fire was discovered around 2 a.m. on Old Oxford Road when a Nissan Altima that was apparently stolen was set ablaze.

According to an incident report completed by a deputy with the Newton County Sheriff's Office, 911 dispatch operators were able to contact the person to whom the tag on the automobile was registered and ask her about the location of her vehicle. She talked to the deputy and told him the car was last in her driveway around 10 p.m. the night before. She said she had no idea who might have taken her vehicle. It was valued at around $7,000.

"It was totally destroyed," Stapp said. "It was absolutely deliberately set."

Stapp said vehicles reportedly stolen are often set afire because the thieves try to destroy evidence.

On April 3, firefighters were summoned to a Kirkland Road apartment when children came home from school around 2:15 p.m. and found smoke coming from inside their residence.

"There was a fire that had been set inside the home," Stapp said. "It was a very small fire with minimal damage, but there was evidence that led us to believe it could be arson."

Stapp asked that anyone with information on either of these incidents call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Calls are taken 24 hours a day; callers can choose to remain anonymous. Also, calls can be placed to the NCFS at 770-784-2116.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com