THIS HOUSE at 8249 Hancock County 140 was damaged by an arson fire on Nov. 6, according to authorities, only a couple of days after a number of items were stolen during a burglary there. A state agency is seeking tips about both incidents. (Photo by Randy Roberts)


Staff Writer

The State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau is seeking tips about a burglary and fire that happened on separate days in November at a Findlay area residence.

On Nov. 4, 2018, a burglary at 8249 Hancock County 140 was reported to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce. The State Fire Marshal’s office is a division of the Department of Commerce.

A Ruger 9 mm handgun, 50-inch and 75-inch televisions, an Acer laptop, a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, a Robovac and Nintendo gaming devices were stolen either Nov. 3 or 4, the state said.

A fire was reported at the same house at 3:21 a.m. Nov. 6, according to the state. The residence was a total loss.

No residents were in the house during the fire, according to Hancock County Sheriff’s Office Detective Fred Smith.

Smith declined to say how the fire started, because withholding that information will help investigators judge the credibility of tips.

The timing of the fire points toward arson, he said.

Investigators have spoken to neighbors, Smith said, but given the time of day, neighbors did not see anything useful.

“Leads are starting to dry up,” Smith said, so investigators are taking this approach in hopes someone they haven’t yet talked to contacts them.

The Blue Ribbon Arson Committee and the Crime Stoppers of Findlay/Hancock County are offering rewards of up to $5,000 and $1,000, respectively, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the Liberty Township Fire Department are investigating.

Anyone with information can call the State Fire Marshal’s tip line at 800-589-2728, Detective Smith at 419-424-7261, or the Crime Stoppers of Findlay/Hancock County at 419-425-8477.

Rubright: 419-427-8417

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