An Evansville neighborhood is relieved after a two-year frustration. A man now behind bars.
At least 17 arson-related fires have been reported in the area of First Avenue and Columbia. Several neighbors say they could never sleep, but tonight, they say they will get the best night sleep they’ve had in a while.
“Yeah I was so happy,” Joe Brown, a neighbor to many alleged arsons says. “I can’t tell you how happy.”
Neighbors on Oregon Street describe their area as a fire war zone.
“Everybody in this neighborhood is on edge I mean how can you not be when we’ve had this many fires,” Brown says.
After two years of living on edge, and never knowing whose property would catch fire next, those neighbors can finally sleep at night.
Neighbor Stephanie Mullen says, “I am going to sleep like I am on a heavenly cloud tonight.”
37-year-old James Sharp was arrested Thursday morning during a police surveillance operation.
Evansville Police Sgt. Jason Cullum says, “Now that we can look back and say we’ve gotten this individual off the street we feel like he was a significant threat to the community there is a sense of accomplishment.”
Officials say Sharp approached the address of 923 West Oregon Street, a scene of two previous fires, then allegedly lit a carpet that was outside the home. Officials say when they tried to arrest Sharp, he attempted to run away. No injuries were reported during the incident.
Mullen says, “This is such a godsend news that this man has been arrested.”
Sharp was caught on Eyewitness News cameras in 2014 where he he is seen watching a warehouse on Maryland Street burn down.
Brown says, “I’m hoping they lock him up and keep him forever.”
Thomas Jackson, whose garage was one of the first to be allegedly burnt down by Sharp just has three words he wants to say to him.
“Glad you’re caught,” Jackson says.
Officials say they are now looking into patterns from previous fires in the area to see if Sharp is connected to those.