Charleston increases reward to $50,000 for arson tips

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston doubled its reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in a string of arson cases downtown.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley announced Thursday that the reward will be doubled from $25,000 to $50,000 for anyone who provides useful information to authorities regarding the downtown arson fires.

The upgraded reward comes on the heels of a fire on Vanderhorst Street last weekend. Investigators are trying to either dismiss or link that fire to the other suspicious fires downtown.

Investigators have been investigating more than 55 fires in a half-mile area downtown during the past decade. Those fires had stopped between August 2009 and the fires at the end of the summer.

"We believe that there are good citizens in our community who have information that could be helpful in finding those persons or person responsible for setting fires in the peninsula area," Riley said Thursday. "The task force that is investigating these fires recommended that the reward be raise to $50,000."

Police Chief Greg Mullen said back in July that cameras have been used in the area but have not been able to catch any suspects. Patrols have been increased in the area where the fires started.

The $50,000 reward includes $5,000 from the S.C. Insurance News Service and $45,000 in city money that will come out of the total budget if someone is arrested and convicted for the arson cases.

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