Man arrested in connection with 6 fires in Vancouver
VANCOUVER, Wash (KPTV) - Members of one community in Vancouver say they’ve been living on edge for nearly a half year, after someone began lighting their homes and cars on fire.
Police believe that arsonist could be Robert Boomsliter, who has been arrested and charged with Arson I.
In a video, you can see a person spraying the side of their home with something flammable, and then setting it one fire. They also sent photos of their car completely engulfed in flames and the aftermath.
Others living nearby in the community say they’ve experienced similar encounters. Ken Petroff, living just down the street, says you can see the suspect flee across the street to stop on the sidewalk and watch the fire.
“Watching,” Petroff said, “like this is my work. He wanted to see how much damage he could do and how much thrill he could get out of it.”
Victims say they’ve been fearing for their usually very safe community for months. Petroff says many of them have families inside of their homes, others are in wheelchairs and some are over 85 years old, “who may not be able to escape a fire. He could have killed people. Seeing this is pretty scary. Now, we have to be on alert all the time.”
We quickly found roughly a half a dozen people claiming to be recent victims of arson, like Mike, who was glad to share photos of what he says is his truck that was lit on fire back in December early in morning. He said his insurance company has since deemed it a total loss.
“They ended up paying me for it,” Mike said, “not enough, but it was super frustrating because we haven’t had any of those problems here.”
Mike believes the suspect lives in the neighborhood, which court documents confirm, appearing to be only a couple minutes’ walk from any of the victim’s homes.
Mike says he’s even spoken with suspect online, hoping to understand the seemingly random attacks.
“I said, ‘If you want to meet somewhere, maybe we can talk about and you can explain it to me.’ He said, ‘take a look at my Facebook page, you’ll figure it out.’”
Neighbors say they’ve seen his Facebook page, which has lists of thousands of names of people living all over the country.
“I’m not going to go through four million names to find mine for some stupid reason,” Mike said.
Boomsliter is being held on 250-thousand dollars bail, and will be arraigned Monday.
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