Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 12, 2012

Greenup hoping to nab arsonist with reward

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

GREENUP — A recent string of suspicious fires in Greenup and Cumberland County have led to a reward for any tips that could lead to an arrest.

    At the Greenup Village Board meeting Thursday, a reward was approved for any tips that could lead to the arrest of the suspected arsonist.

    “Ten of the fires have been ruled as arson,” said Mayor Tom Bauguss. “We’re offering a $5,000 reward for tips that could lead to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible. We have to get this to stop.”

    In 2012, 18 fires in Cumberland County, 10 of which were in Greenup, have been suspicious and ruled as likely arson. Bauguss said that the number of fires, all of which have occurred at vacant houses or barns, are starting to have financial repercussions for the entire community.

    “We’ve had so many fires that some people are being denied insurance,” he said.

    The Greenup fire and police departments have been working together to attempt to put an end to the crimes.

    “We’re willing to do whatever we can now,” said Greenup Fire Chief Michael Carlen. “If we don’t pressure somebody for doing it, they’re just going to keep doing it.”

    For now, Carlen said the best option for the fire and police departments is to keep watching for any suspicious activity.

    “It’s mostly looking for information and keeping our eyes and ears open. The best chance we have is going to be somebody who sees something.”

    Carlen said Greenup and Cumberland County residents who are worried about the suspected arsonist should take some simple steps to keep their property safe.

    “Make sure that people don’t think your place is vacant,” he said. “Make it look like your place is occupied. If you’re taking a long vacation, have somebody come over. If you have a vacant house, just do your best to make your property look occupied.”

    Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.