Man offers reward over burning of his home

June 12, 1996|By S. Mitra Kalita | S. Mitra Kalita,SUN STAFF

Saying he wants justice, a Shipley's Choice man announced a $7,500 reward yesterday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist who partially destroyed his home.

Steve Mitchell, owner of the house on Linden Shade Court, said he decided to offer the reward after fire officials reached a dead end in their three-month investigation. Mitchell is putting up $2,500 of the reward; his insurance company would pay the rest.

Fire officials, who confirmed that the March 7 fire was deliberately set, would not discuss the investigation or any motives.

"This was not a random arson," said Lt. David C. Bond of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. "It was an attack on this family."

Bond said he is hoping the reward will "regenerate" the investigation and help tie evidence together.

The fire at the two-story home on a quiet cul-de-sac started about 1 a.m. while the Mitchell family was asleep. Mitchell, his wife and 23-year-old daughter escaped unharmed. Mitchell was treated for smoke inhalation after going back inside the house to save his cats.

The home suffered $150,000 in damage. The arsonist also is believed to have vandalized one of the family's cars, parked on the street, Bond said.

Mitchell, the owner of a real-estate software company, said the family has not received any threats since the fire.

"We're coping," he said.

The burning of a home is classified as first-degree arson -- punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine.

Anyone with information on the fire can call (410) 222-7884.

Pub Date: 6/12/96

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