Browsing: Arson

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Michael Brewer’s mother Valerie and Dr. Nicholas Namias on NBC this morning. Mom says Michael was “petrified” to go to school the day he was set ablaze. She called the school to say he was terrified and they had a meeting scheduled for the next day. Also see Teens Douse 15-Year-Old Michael Brewer, Set Him On Fire.

Mom left 4-year-old Anthony Hinojosa in the burning trailer home

​At 3 a.m., according to police, Sharon Hinojosa purposely set fire to her mobile home in Huron Township, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. She grabbed her 1-year-old son, but left her other two children — ages 3 and 4 — behind.

Joe Dickes and another neighbor saw the fire and tried to rescue the kids. But they couldn’t get through the door or the windows; the fire was out of control. “We heard the screams inside,” he told the Associated Press. “There was nothing we could do.”

What shocked him more is that their mother didn’t seem worried that her two kids were burning to death. “Sharon
was running up and down the street. She didn’t care. She said, ‘I couldn’t wake them up.’ Come on, you can throw them out
the door…

texting driver.jpg
Rodney Troy Whitley, author of the most costly “You still up?” text ever.

Either criminals are getting way dumber, or we’re getting way smarter. So it’s settled: Criminals are getting way dumber — and our Stupid Criminals of the Week are no exception.
5. Rodney Troy Whitley: Further proving the need for cell-phone breathalyzers, Rodney Troy Whitley so urgently needed to send a text message, he started thumbing in the message as he drove through a Florida neighborhood. He was hammered at the time, which may explain why he didn’t notice his minivan veering across a lane of traffic, through a fence, and into the side of a house.
Unfortunately for Whitley, karma witnessed the incident and decided to intervene, seeing to it that the injured home belonged to a local deputy — a development that will surely cost Whitley a couple of extra years in the slam and a less-than-fortuitous cellmate assignment when he gets there.

If you see Andrew Mogilyansky, start swinging.

For this week’s edition of Creeps of the Week, we searched America’s schools, mail routes, and former Cold War adversaries for signs of kneecap-worthy creepiness. As usual, it was easy hunting.
5. Kristin Mastin: You might think that Kristen Mastin’s victim, her married former lover, got what he deserved. And you might be right. But did she have to drag innocent mail carriers into it?
After Mastin and a coworker ended a three-month affair, police say, she took the time out of her not-at-all-busy life to blast the mailboxes of her lover, her lover’s wife, neighbors — anyone she could find, really — with magazines, catalogs, and other heavy mail. As thousands of pieces of unwanted mail piled up in the couple’s box, mail carriers’ loads literally doubled, making Mastin, 41, the most environmentally unsafe scorned lover in the history of love triangles. She’s charged with stalking, contributing to the ruining of a family, and vastly improving the reading habits of an entire Wisconsin neighborhood.

The Mardela Three get dangerous when they’re bored

What’s good for the safety and security of the country is not always good for Police Blunders of the Week. Last week, we told you about doped-up cops driving their SUVs into Starbucks, hiring inept hitmen to kill ex-wives, and moonlighting as bank robbers to earn a little walk around money.

Sadly, our boys in blue were little more restrained this week. So we had to cheat and add some firemen and a fake cop…

No. 5 Mardela Springs Firemen: Three Maryland volunteer firemen seem to really like watching stuff burn. So Kyle James Bradley, Joshua Bryant
Maddox, and Marcus Edward Whitelock decided to use road flares to set fire to a vacant home. Maddox was also charged with arson for burning another vacant home. The reason? “They admitted to … setting the fires because they were bored,” said a fire marshal.

Connie Huggins, the serial arsonist of Griffin, Georgia

​The first fire came in July at a Griffin, Georgia recycling center. It was followed by eight other blazes involving tool sheds, portable toilets, and out-buildings. So police set up surveillance in the area, hoping to catch the mystery arsonist.

That’s when they saw 55-year-old Connie Huggins climb behind shrubs at the Agape Restoration Family Center, a church and community
center in Griffin. Moments later, they smelled smoke. Huggins was arrested on arson charges.

Police say these were revenge fires against business who refused to give her money or let panhandle on their property. The recycling center blaze, for example, was part of a vendetta after it wouldn’t let her sleep there. But it may also be a case of a woman not exactly in touch with her faculties. Huggins, you see, has been a frequent guest at halfway houses and apparently has an impressive history of drug abuse.

This is just how they roll in Round Rock, Texas law enforcement

​If this is Thursday, that means it must be time for another fabulous episode of This Week in Police Bungling! [Cue the French horns.] In fact, True Crime has such a full menu, we can’t tell you about the Minnesota Gang Strike Force that went rogue itself. Or the officer who stun gunned the daughter of a Cincinnati city councilman. Or the Baltimore cops who staged a fake raid — complete with helicopter — to help with a Maryland state delegate’s marriage proposal.

But we can tell you about saucy barmaids posing with rifles, as the fine deputies of Midland County, Texas come in at No. 5 in our countdown…


Amanda Gessner

On a personal profile at, Amanda Gessner wrote:

my name is amanda,i am 19 years old,i live in drexel hill pa.i have med. brown hair,baby blue eyes,i am 5″4″,n i weigh 135.i am very outgoing,always honest.i am very down to earth n yes i will let you know what it is!!!!i am a active girl…..i like to dance,model,act,sing…

Amanda didn’t say anything about an affinity for firefighters or for fire itself, but recently, she proved that last bit about singing. From

A 19-year-old Upper Darby woman who was observed on a store surveillance camera singing, “The fire company is going to be mad at me,” was arrested and charged with setting seven fires in the township early yesterday. 

Emphasis was added.

Amanda was hit with several charges, including arson and criminal mischief.

The Deputy Fire Chief for Upper Darby PA, John Hicks, told local media that Amanda had been at a number of fires taking photos with her cell phone. She’d also bothered firefighters at a local station. Hicks also said that Amanda “enjoyed seeing fire engines, enjoyed seeing fires, and enjoyed taking pictures of fires.”

Upper Darby police official Michael Chitwood said that Amanda’s name came up early in the investigation into the seven fires set at various locations. A look at surveillance tape from a store where Amanda was known to hang out captured her impromptu performance.

According to Michael Chitwood, Amanda is “the profile of what a pyromaniac would be.”

Officials also said Amanda Gessner is unemployed and lives with her parents. She had no history of criminal behavior.

Police say Amanda confessed to setting the fires once she was in custody.

Her MySpace profile, Ricanangel77, is locked, but she titled it “FireFighter” and had the following quote byher profile photo: “reliance (61) hook&ladderco. no. 1.”

Amanda Gessner probably needs serious psychiatric help. Pyromania is a distinct (if rather rare) form of mental illness. If she is the rare female sufferer, she will need a lot of treatment to deal with it.

Chances are there is something else going on with Amanda, though, and it’s probably too pathological to treat with any effectiveness. It’s also not like her acts were harmless — a family was asleep in the home where she allegedly started one fire. They escaped without any harm — but what if they hadn’t?

Police do not believe Amanda had anything to do with multiple arsons recently committed in Coatesville, PA, but she may well have been influenced by them.

She is currently being held on $100,000 bail.  

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