EAST PROVIDENCE – Friday marked the four-year anniversary of an unsolved arson and hate crime in the city, and even though the case remains cold, East Providence police say they are still reviewing all aspects of the investigation in hopes of developing further leads.
On Sept. 27, 2009, anti-Semitic graffiti, including swatiskas and a racial slur, were spray-painted on a Ferris Avenue home in Rumford before the back of it was set on fire with an accelerant. A family sleeping in the home was able to get out safely, but the suspect responsible for setting the fire was never caught.
“This case is especially disturbing because it involved the intentional burning of a home that was occupied by a sleeping family, and the crime has been designated as a hate crime with racial and ethnic motivations,” says police Lt. Michael David.
According to David, this arson investigation is still open and active, and there is still a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
What police do know is this: At about 12:30 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 27, 2009, swastikas and a racial slur were spray painted on a Ferris Avenue home in Rumford, which was set on fire with an accelerant.
An older, distinctive metal gas can was left at the scene. The gas can is described as a two-piece can with a gas container as the top half and a toolbox as the bottom half. These types of gas cans are designed for use with chain saws, according to police.
For several months before the incident, police said, similar graffiti with swastikas and racial slurs was found nearby.
The suspect in the case, police say, is known to have traveled north on Ferris Avenue towards the home on a bicycle and then fled the scene south of Ferris Avenue, again on a bicycle.
The suspect was last seen rounding the curve on Ferris Avenue across from the entrance to Kimberly Rock Field.
David says anyone with information related to the fire, similar graffiti or the metal gas can, can call Detective Michael Petow of the East Providence Police at (401) 435-7648 or the R.I. State Fire Marshal’s Office Arson Watch Hotline at (401) 462-4242