Investigators link suspect to 7 Houston fires using car tracker

Sunday, October 11, 2020
Investigators link man to 7 Houston fires using car tracker
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Press play to learn how arson investigators were able to connect the suspect to the fires, leading to his arrest.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man has been arrested and charged in connection with a series of fires that were intentionally set in the Greater Heights area this week, according to police.

Joshua A. Rauch, 28, was arrested Saturday and charged with second degree arson.

During a news conference Saturday, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said Rauch confessed to causing at least seven fires throughout the Houston area.

The suspect mostly set vehicles, trash cans and sheds on fire, according to Peña. There were no reported injuries in any of the arson cases.

Peña said video from the incidents showed Rauch's vehicle at the fire scenes, which allowed authorities to obtain a warrant to put a tracker on his car. Rauch confessed after he was brought in for questioning.

It's not clear how many fires Rauch has set, but officials are investigating and believe he's responsible for dozens more. Peña said Rauch's charges could be upgraded to first degree arson.

Rauch appeared in court on Saturday night, and his bond was set for $50,000. His second court appearance is set for Monday.

On Thursday around 3 a.m., Brendan Posterick heard his car alarm go off.

When he looked outside, he noticed his Toyota parked at the corner of 18th Street and Harvard was engulfed in flames. His girlfriend, Lauren Hale, quickly called 911.

"It was terrifying," said Hale. "I think I was shaking for probably the next four hours. I told him I was shaking to my core."

Video obtained by ABC13 shows flames shooting up at least 20 to 30 feet at one point.

Francesco Congi's car also suffered some damage.

"It's a person or persons who are disturbed and they are looking for attention, unfortunately," said Congi.

As Posterick's car burned, firefighters had to respond to another car fire in the 800 block of W. 18th street.

In that case, only the back section of the car was burned. The two car fires are in addition to a trio of fires near TC Jester and W. 34th Street over the past two days.

In those cases, one car was set on fire and two sheds went up in flames.

Prior to that, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at two different driveways in the Lazybrook subdivision.

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