A call to the Texas Arson Hotline resulted in the arrest of three Sul Ross State University students following a fire in an Alpine, Texas, convenience store, according to A Texas Advisory Council on Arson (ATAC), which funds the hotline. The trio was charged with arson and their bond set at $25,000.
The fire occurred in the Food Basket Supermarket in Alpine on the evening of Feb. 4. According to witnesses, the three suspects lit a bag of charcoal in the aisle of the store and then proceeded to check out. A store clerk saw smoke and flames and called the Alpine Fire Department. A store employee extinguished the blaze before firefighters arrived.
The suspects reportedly bragged about setting the fire. An informant overheard the conversation and called the Arson Hotline to report the crime. Alpine police arrested the three 19 year old suspects without incident.
In the past 18 months, 11 people have been either been arrested or warrants issued for their arrest on charges of arson stemming from calls to the Arson Hotline.
ATAC’s members include fire, police, industrial and insurance representatives. The Arson Hotline is answered seven days a week, 24-hours a day and every caller remains anonymous. Calls that lead to legitimate arrests may result in a reward. The Arson Hotline number is 1-877-4-FIRE-45 (1-877-434-7345).
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