Anchorage police arrested a man early Wednesday suspected of setting a Monday fire that damaged a pickup truck at The Arc of Anchorage, after he allegedly tried to set another fire in woods near the group's facility overnight Tuesday.
APD spokesperson Dani Myren says police were called to the non-profit’s 2211 Arca Dr. building at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Responding officers located and arrested 19-year-old Matthew Marinos shortly after midnight.
Marinos has been charged with one third-degree count each of arson and criminal mischief, in connection with the Monday fire. It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether he might face additional charges in a blaze that destroyed a delivery van a day before the pickup-truck fire, or the Tuesday incident near the non-profit’s building.
The Arc of Anchorage, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said Tuesday that it was considering additional security measures at the East Anchorage structure.
Patti Saunders, the group's development director, says someone set a fire Sunday morning under the front of one of its vans parked in a lot outside the building. The vehicle quickly burned, in a blaze which destroyed it.
“I think the whole engine compartment was burned out, so it’s a dead loss,” Saunders said.
Chris Hall, The Arc of Anchorage’s public-relations manager, says the van’s value hasn’t been determined by insurers. While the vehicle was used, he says a new one would cost from $40,000 to $50,000.
The second fire, which was set Monday morning using a rolled-up newspaper stuck into the grille of a pickup truck also owned by the group, was found by a maintenance man. The blaze did do some harm, but it wasn’t as much damage as the van fire.
“It’s unsightly, but it still runs,” Saunders said.
Staff at The Arc of Anchorage say they have had to deal with lesser cases of vandalism and littering before, including an incident Hall remembers in which someone dumped numerous salmon carcasses nearby a few years ago.
“That area is off the beaten path, so we do have some problems,” Hall said.
That trouble’s nothing like the recent cases, however, with Saunders saying the group has been on Arca Drive for years and never seen an instance of vehicle arson until now.
“With two in two days, it’s like a 100 percent increase,” Saunders said.
According to Saunders, Anchorage Fire Department investigators have suggested that the group relocate a surveillance camera and installing fencing around the parking lot. Hall says officials are still deciding on a variety of possible security improvements.
AFD spokesperson Al Tamagni Jr. confirmed that the department was investigating at least one of the vehicle fires Tuesday.
Channel 2's Mallory Peebles contributed information to this story.
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