Known arsonist arrested; possibly linked to Lubbock fires - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/20/09

Known arsonist arrested; possibly linked to Lubbock fires

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Source: Lynn Co. Sheriff Source: Lynn Co. Sheriff

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock authorities believe a man who once admitted to setting more than 200 fires could be at it again.

Authorities arrested 67-year-old Jerry Wayne Adams of Lubbock around 10a.m. Friday morning in Lynn County. Adams is being held at the Lynn County Jail.

Lubbock Fire Marshals say he set a fire just outside of Tahoka Friday morning. But this is not Adams first time to be accused of arson. "We had several fires over the last several months that kinda fit the M.O. of a guy we arrested back in the 90's," Garett Nelson, Investigator Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office.

It was a hunch that led investigators from the Lubbock Fire Marshal's office to Tahoka on Friday. Investigator Nelson says for months they have watched Adams, who recently lost his mother. "So we thought he was probably going to the cemetery and he was," Nelson said.

Nelson says they followed Adams to the Tahoka Cemetery, where it is believed he went to visit his mother's grave. Soon after Nelson says, he watched Adams set fire to a grassy area just outside of the city. "Several people live in that area of brush and trees and the winds were blowing the right direction where it would have taken it right through there. So we were able to avert a tremendous tragedy," Nelson said.

This is not the first time Adams has set fire to brush. According to reports, Adams was later arrested in Plainview in conjunction with brush fires in Hale County. In November 1997, Adams admitted to setting more than 200 brush and fence fires in Lubbock. He also pleaded guilty to four fires in Hale County. Reports say he was given 10 years probation and ordered to pay nearly a half a million dollars in reinstitution. Adams's probation ended about a year and a half ago.

More than a decade old, but Nelson those fires are similar to some recent blazes in the Hub City. "Mainly opportunist type of fires, they were the type of fires that just fit these ones he set back then," Nelson said.

Adams is expected to be arraigned Saturday. Nelson says he faces the charge of arson along with a recommended half million-dollar bond. Nelson also says more charges could follow in connection with some arson fires in Lubbock. 

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