COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus firefighters say a suspect in a string of arsons has been arrested.
According to the Columbus Division of Fire, on March 23, investigators arrested Leroy Stafford and charged him with three counts of aggravated arson after he admitted to starting three fires at vacant properties in the Franklinton area.
Investigators say Stafford, 27, admitted to starting a fire at 827 Bellows Avenue, after the landlord removed several homeless people who were squatting inside, as well as a fire on Dec. 25, 2021, at a home located at 871 Bellows Avenue, and another fire at 904 Sullivant Avenue on Jan. 20, 2022.
Firefighters began investigating after a string of fires at vacant properties starting in September 2021.
According to firefighters, Stafford also admitted to setting two additional fires in vacant homes in the same neighborhood when he was a juvenile, but he refused to give specifics of the address or dates.
The vacant homes that have been set on fire in the Franklinton area include:
- 827 Bellows Avenue 9/30/2021
- 871 Bellows Avenue 12/25/2021
- 904 Sullivant Avenue 1/20/2022
- 899 Sullivant Avenue 2/21/2022
- 286 Hawkes Avenue 3/03/2022
- 902 Sullivant Avenue 3/13/2022
Other charges against Stafford could be filed at a later date, according to firefighters.