Authorities search for man connected to Garfield Heights molotov cocktail house bombings

August 8, 2018

Authorities search for man connected to Garfield Heights molotov cocktail house bombings

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — Authorities are searching for a man wanted for questioning in connection to a burglary that resulted in fires at two Garfield Heights homes.

Police have not identified the man whose image was captured on a home surveillance camera system leaving a house in the 4800 block of East 97th Street early Friday morning with a container in his hand following a burglary, according to a Garfield Heights police report.

Investigators believe the man returned to the same street Sunday and Tuesday mornings and threw molotov cocktails through rear windows of both homes before running away. The homes sustained extensive damage, police said.

Officers believe Friday’s burglary and the house fires are connected. Garfield police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the fires.

Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the house were not struck by explosives as originally reported by some news outlets.

“They have determined they were not explosives that were used, but rather an incendiary device,” a State Fire Marshal’s Office spokesman said. “They aren’t releasing specifics on the device at this time because the investigation is ongoing.”

Police received a call Friday just after 5 a.m. for a report of a burglary. Officers discovered the back door of the home and a window were open. The home was “ransacked” and a yellow fluid was on the floor, the police report said.

Someone also pushed in a window unit air conditioner, police said.

Two days later, authorities were called to the home next door about 5:30 a.m. after the back of the home caught fire, officials said.

Witnesses told police two men and a boy were seen and heard in the area at the time of the house fire. They ran away as the home burst into flames.

Investigators caught the younger juvenile identified by a witness. The 17-year-old did not cooperate with police, investigators said. Officers took him to the city jail.

Police received another call about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to the same home that was burglarized Friday for a report of a second fire.

The homeowner told police someone threw something in the back window and it was followed by two loud booms and flames.

Authorities have not made any arrest in the home invasion or the second arson. 

No one was injured in the break-ins or house fires.

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