Police identified suspected serial arsonist - WNEM TV 5

Police identified suspected serial arsonist

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It's a mystery that's been plaguing Saginaw for months: who was setting abandoned homes on fire, and why?

After his arraignment on Friday, police released the identity of Nathaniel Nixon. 

Nixon, 49, has been charged with third-degree arson and third degree preparation of arson.

He was arrested on Aug. 18 after police surveillance caught him preparing to set a fire.

"We set up on some different houses in the City of Saginaw yesterday, hoping that he would come back and be caught in the act," said MSP Lt. David Kaiser.

Late Aug.18, police saw the suspect return to a home he's suspected of lighting on fire previously, holding a cup thought to be filled with accelerant. That's when he struck again.

"When he was walking away, the officers confronted him," Kaiser said. "He dropped the cup, officers took him into custody. Other officers ran to the front porch and saw it was in flames," Kaiser said.

The 49 year-old suspect, whose identity is being withheld pending arraignment, is now off the street and facing multiple charges. Police said more could be coming.

"I believe people can feel safe," Kaiser said. "After the interviews last night, he's responsible for at least 14 of these past fires. And now that he's in custody, time will tell."

But why start the fires? After talking to the suspect, police said they’re not even sure why he did it.

"I called my detective sergeant this morning, not that we're aware of. There is no motive," Kaiser said.

He is lodged at the Saginaw County Jail on three counts of arson in the third degree and three counts of preparation to burn. And while he awaits trial, police are just glad to have this serial arsonist off the streets.

But police aren't the only ones happy to see a serial arsonist off the streets. 

"I am so happy that they did catch somebody who's been doing it," Pastor Mary Allen said.

Mary Allen lives in the neighborhood and the string of fires has worried her grandson, Devonte Allen.

"My grandma lives right next door," Devonte Allen said. "I wonder if she would have gotten hurt due to some ignorance going on. I don't know why would a person do that, to a good neighborhood, know what I'm saying." 

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