2015-12-23 / Front Page

Cops Nab Forest Hills ‘Copycat’ Firebug

By Liz Goff
Police last week arrested a 36-year-old Forest Hills man charged with setting three “copycat” fires in trash dumpsters on Austin Street on December 9, including one in front of the 112th Precinct.

Cops said Samer Shuaib set the first of the three fires in a paper-filled dumpster outside the stationhouse at 68-40 Austin Street at about midnight on December 9. Cops aided by firefighters quickly extinguished the fire that caused “very slight” damage to a patrol car parked nearby, NYPD officials said.

Shuaib was charged with setting a second fire in a dumpster in an empty lot near the stationhouse just moments later, and with setting a third fire in a dumpster located about one block from the stationhouse at about 1:20 a.m. on December 10. The fires were easily extinguished and no one was injured.

Police officials said they do not believe Shuaib is not connected “in any way” with the seven fires set by a serial arsonist in the Forest Hills area since October 20.

Police officials said investigators reviewed surveillance video from businesses along Austin Street and interviewed eyewitnesses to help track down Shauib, who was charged with three counts of second-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree arson and second-degree reckless endangerment.

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