Police in Groningen have arrested a 20-year-old man and his girlfriend on suspicion of starting some 17 fires in barns, sheds and abandoned buildings in the village of ‘t Zandt since August.
According to media reports, the man was ‘practically caught in the act’ on Tuesday afternoon when he was spotted by police near a shed with a burning candle and flammable material.
The Telegraaf reports that a German soft drink bottle and a Bob the Builder sock found at the scene of an earlier fire could also be traced to the suspect.
Police said in a statement on Wednesday that they had been monitoring Johnny B. for over a week. Suspicion was aroused when he made conflicting statements after ‘witnessing’ an earlier fire.
Some 30 police officers have been involved in the investigation and special military night-viewing equipment was used in an effort to catch the arsonist.
Locals said they were relieved that the arsonist appeared to have been tracked down. ‘Finally, I can sleep easy,’ one women whose garden shed was destroyed in the 15th fire told the Telegraaf.
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