Cross streets of New Port Richey block that has scene 11 fires in two years because of an alleged 11-year-old arsonist. The child admitted to six of the fires, but officials believe he is behind the remaining five.
New Port Richey, Florida - An 11-year-old was arrested on Thursday in connection with a series of fires that took place in a residential community in New Port Richey.
"The fire truck came- like three fire trucks. They just flew up the street," said Sharlene Hall, who lives near the suspect's home along Indiana Avenue and Vanburen Street.
Investigators say the child has been setting fires to trees, shrubs and homes since July of 2011.
"It's usually late at night. You know, 10 or even later. So you see the fire trucks and then all of a sudden it's squad cards," said David Lapore, who lives just two doors down from the suspect's home.
Follow 10 News Reporter Andre Senior on twitter @AndreSenior
Police told 10 News that they always suspected the child, but could never prove it because he was being protected by family members.
The number of fires that were set in the area increased over the last two weeks, so investigators planned to set up surveillance to catch him. But about an hour before the operation was supposed to begin on Wednesday, someone witnessed the child setting another fire.
It was that eye witness account that gave police the evidence they needed to lock him up in juvenile hall, and charge him with several felonies.
The pre-teen reportedly admitted to six of the eleven fires that were reported in the neighborhood, but they suspect he is behind the remaining five.
Investigators are still looking into whether the people who protected the child for the last year-and-a-half will face charges, but for the time being, residents are relieved that a suspect has been caught.
"He's off the street. Hopefully there'll be no more fires in the neighborhood," said resident Sharlene Hall.
You may also like...
Prostitute Roundup: 78 arrested in online sex sting
Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*
Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012
Cop of Love: Sheriff puts up Valentine's Day billboard
Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures
Take us with you: Download the 10 News app for your iPad
Yowtch! Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle
Gay Dog: Owner gives up pooch over sexual orientation
Shock Jock: DJ suspended for mocking woman with Down Syndrome
Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant
Not racist? Restaurant says 'How to catch an illegal immigrant' t-shirt is not racist
Marijuana candy: Cops say weed candy is newest drug on the street
Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash
Sex Offender Mugshots: Look up Florida Sex Offenders here
Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club
Photos: Ex-Charlie Sheen Goddess Bree Olson
Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures
Outrageous mug shot galleries...
Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen
Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars
Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots
Celebrities: The rich and famous have their own booking photos
Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots
Laughers: What's so funny mug shots
Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots
Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots
Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots
Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots
More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries