Investigators looking into string of fires, copper thefts

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Neighbors are on edge in one Clayton County community after a series of suspicious fires.
 

Donald King says thieves broke into his house on Tiffany Lane and stripped his property of copper.
 
“Whoever took the copper knew what they were doing. They turned the water off at the street,” King says.
 
After stripping his home of copper, King says the thieves doused his carpet with chemicals and tried to light the place on fire.
 
“They tried to burn the house down. We had a hole in the carpet from fireworks,” King says.
 
Clayton County police say they’ve made no arrests in this case yet.
 
On Sunday night, a vacant home directly adjacent to the King’s house went up in flames.
 
Investigators with Clayton County Fire suspect arson. However, they have not confirmed whether the fires are related.
 
Channel 2 Action News noticed that the home’s air-conditioning unit was also stripped of copper. 
 
“My family lives here,” says Rachel Oehrlie, a neighbor. “We are seeing lots of children running around burning stuff up, and it could potentially cause someone to die if they were inside their home.”
 
Neighbors suspect teenagers in the neighborhood and say Tuesday night another fire was set in a street sewer.
 
“We’ve lived here for years and never had anything like this,” says Freddie Middlebrooks, another neighbor.
 
King says he will pay a $1,000 reward for any tips offered to police that lead to an arrest.
 
“It is malicious. It is not something that is an accident, more than a prank,” King says.