HILLIARD, Fla. - A 49-year-old Hilliard man has been arrested in connection with a string of arson fires to vehicles and homes between February and May.
Ryan Wilson is charged with three counts of arson and two counts of burglary to a conveyance. He was booked into jail Wednesday.
Deputies said several vehicles at the Eastwood Oaks Apartment Complex in Hilliard had been the target of arson fires between Feb. 22 and May 29. A total of 10 vehicles and two apartments were set on fire during that time between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Deputies said Wilson was arrested for his involvement in the fire on April 25, which burned three vehicles at the complex. Deputies said their investigation is continuing on the other fires.
"His actions have resulted in thousands of dollars in property damage and resources spent through the Fire Department, as well as law enforcement, and could have caused serious injury or death," Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said. "We believe he had some issues with residents at the complex. We don't believe he was involved in all the fires. But we do believe he was involved in that one."
On June 4, the Sheriff's Office, State Fire Marshal's Office, Eastwood Oaks Apartment Complex manager and First Coast Crime Stoppers announced an increase in reward money to $11,000 leading to the arrest of those responsible.
"The Nassau County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the community for their assistance in helping solve this crime," Leeper said.
Debbie Luongo said she feels a bit safer now walking her dog knowing that someone has been arrested in the arson fires. She moved into the complex just as the fires began.
"There has been security here because we have been concerned," Luongo said. "There have been people who moved out because of the concern, a lot of people who wanted to move out but could not. It hit a lot of people who did not have insurance on their vehicle, so we are very happy that they finally have some closure to this "
If anyone has any further information they would like to pass along to investigators about the other fires, call the Sheriff's Office at 904-548-4007 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).
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