East Providence Police continue to seek information on four-year-old hate crime

Alleged arsonists sprayed swastikas and race-related graffiti while perpetrating the crime four years ago. Alleged arsonists sprayed swastikas and race-related graffiti while perpetrating the crime four years ago.

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence Police Department is still chasing leads in regard to finding the perpetrator in a four-year-old hate crime.

The incident occurred on September 27, 2009, and remains unsolved. According to a recent report issued by EPPD Detective Lieutenant Michael David, at about 12:30 a.m. on that day, swastikas and a racial slur were spray painted on a Ferris Avenue home in the Rumford section of East Providence. The back of the home was set on fire with an accelerant. A family sleeping in the home was able to get out safely. The arson investigation is still open and active.

Alleged arsonists sprayed swastikas and race-related graffiti while perpetrating the crime four years ago.

Alleged arsonists sprayed swastikas and race-related graffiti while perpetrating the crime four years ago.

“September 27 marks the four-year anniversary of an unsolved arson that occurred in the Rumford section of East Providence in 2009.  This case is especially disturbing because it involved the intentional burning of a home that was occupied by a sleeping family, and the crime has been designated as a hate-crime with racial/ethnic motivations,” Lt. David wrote.

He continued, “As the anniversary of this crime nears, we are reviewing all aspects of our investigation in hopes of developing further leads. It is our hope, (renewed publicity) brings forward any individuals that may have information on the identity of the arsonist.”

The lieutenant notes there is still a $5,000 reward available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible. An older, distinctive, metal gas can was left at the scene. The gas can is a two piece can with a gas container as the top half and a tool box as the bottom half. These gas cans were designed for
use with chain saws.

A fuel tank similar to the one pictured was used during an unsolved arson case on Ferris Avenue four years ago.

A fuel tank similar to the one pictured was used during an unsolved arson case on Ferris Avenue four years ago.

Over several months before this incident, similar graffiti with swastikas and racial slurs, were found by police at a nearby location. The suspect is known to have traveled north on Ferris Avenue towards the home on a bicycle and to have fled south of Ferris Avenue, again on a bicycle. They were last seen rounding the curve in Ferris Avenue, across from the entrance to Kimberly Rock Field.

Anyone with information related to this fire, any similar graffiti or the metal gas can are asked to call Detective Michael Petow of the East Providence Police at 401-435-7648 or the R.I. State Fire Marshall’s Office Arson Watch Hotline at 401-462-4242.

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