Village Of Dresden Offers Reward To Halt String Of Arsons


Residents in the Muskingum County village of Dresden say they have had to suffer through nearly 20 suspicious fires over the past 5 years.

Now, they are hoping a $25,000 reward will help them catch the person or people responsible for the fires.

"There was a garage right there they burnt,” said Dresden Mayor David Mathew while pointing out some areas hit by the suspected arsonist.

Mathew is more than just an elected official looking to stop a criminal from destroying his village.

He and his wife, Donna, are victims themselves.

"I couldn't sleep at nights,” Donna Mathew said.

The Mathews talked with 10TV where a building they owned once stood. They say their building was destroyed by arson in 2009.

Fire officials say it was one of 19 suspicious fires set over a 5-year span. They say the majority of the fires were set within blocks of each other.

"I never imagined that it would bother me as much as it did that somebody would do this to person,” Mayor Mathew said.

Village officials say they are trying to discourage arsons by tearing down dilapidated properties.

One such property sits at 22 E. Sixth St., just steps away from the Humble Heart business.

Owner Darron Delancey says he has already had several encounters with arson.

"They're all close. That's what's scary,” he said.

Delancey says fires at two of his properties were ruled arson.

"Obviously, (it’s) scary to have two buildings - one, you know, fully engulfed and the other one attempted arson,” he said.

Delancey says a third property of his sat next door to another one of the fires.

"It would be nice to find who's doing this, obviously,” he said.

That's what Mayor Mathew says he wants so that he, his wife, and their village can finally stop worrying about any more fires.

"It needs to cease,” Mayor Mathew said.

The $25,000 reward will go to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for the suspicious fires within the village limits and Cass Township.

The reward money comes from private contributions, including Jacobs Vanaman Insurance, Westfield Insurance, Cincinnati Insurance and the Longaberger family.

If you have any information, contact the village of Dresden at 740-754-3151.



Dates & location of the suspicious fires in Dresen:

1/2/09 609 Chestnut St.--garage total loss

1/5/09 3325 Hill Rd.--barn total loss

1/22/09 607 Main St.--IGA store total loss

2/12/09 Dresden Feed and Supply--total loss

3/1/09 3305 Stillwell Rd.--total loss

3/7/09 617 Main St.--Shad Shack total loss

3/17/09 515 Main St.--Country Cupboard minor damage

3/27/09 704 Chestnut St.--unoccupied house total loss

5/21/09 27 W. 5th St.--Agin's Hardware total loss

3/1/10 3375 Stillwell Rd.--total loss

11/1/10 19 W. Sixth St.--minor damage

9/19/11 606 Clay St.--total loss

4/19/12 18 E. Sixth St.--chair set on fire in alley

5/11/12 21 E. Sixth St.--total loss

1/20/13 40 E. Fifth St.--total loss

2/12/13 615 Chestnut St.--minor damage

4/2/13 511 Main St.--total loss

9/22/13 3300 W. Fifth St.--total loss

1/12/14 95 Chestnut St.--total loss