Theis investigating the fifth suspicious palm tree/brush fire reported in the city this year. A palm tree off a main path at Clam Bayou was set on fire on around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.
What makes this different from the four other fires reported this year is the MO or Mode of Operation.
"Completely out of the MO of the other fires," Det. Sgt. Robert Burkhart said.
That's because the other four fires under investigation happened near homes and neighborhoods and during overnight hours. The last fire was reported on June 7th at a vacant lot at 5704 28th Ave S. in Gulfport. During that early morning fire, a witness saw man or teen near the lot during the fire. That witness asked him if he called 9-1-1. Officials say he didn't answer, instead he ran east on 28th Ave S., jumped in a waiting car at the 5500 block (about 2 blocks away from the fire) and sped off heading east.
Officials are looking for a while male about 5'7'' tall with a medium build. He was seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black t-shirt and a baseball hat.
Three fires happened during the early morning hours of April 18, 2011. All of those happened in the city, near neighborhoods and alley's. There were no witnesses.
The palm tree fire at Clam Bayou is now the fifth fire reported to law enforcement.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Non-Emergency Line at (727) 893-1030.