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Police asking for help identifying woman caught committing arson

woman arson Ring doorbell
Posted at 11:13 PM, Sep 27, 2021

Police are asking for the public's help identifying a woman caught on a Ring doorbell camera as she set fire to the entrance of a condo building on Reading Road near Avondale Avenue in North Avondale.

The woman can be seen on video squirting lighter fluid on the outside of a door and lighting it on fire at around 9:30 p.m. the night of August 26.

After lighting it initially, she appears to leave but returns to the side of the door to squirt more lighter fluid on the flames, which visibly shoot upward. She then gets into a nearby four-door SUV and drives away.

Lt. Jake Silvanti with the Newport Fire Department said this is just one case in which officials have been able to leverage technology, like a Ring doorbell camera, to get a clear picture of someone committing a crime.

Police and fire departments have been relying on the technology more frequently lately, as in the case of an incident in 2020, when Silvanti said a homeowner was able to make a life-saving call thanks to the camera.

"They had no other notification at the residence that there was a fire," he said. "The homeowner that had the Ring doorbell app saw the house was on fire through her app and she called the occupants inside the house that were still home."

Some communities have considered keeping track of where Ring and other residential cameras are to create a database so officials know when they're available to help with investigations. Silvanti said Newport isn't doing that currently, but that they're always grateful to homeowners who allow Campbell County access that helps with an investigation.

"We don't get any type of notification to the firehouse that it's a Ring doorbell, but it's alerting the residents and the business owners faster," he said. "That's what's important."