GULFPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT
MEDIA NEWS RELEASE
                                                                 
Lt. Robert Vincent
Public Information Officer
727-893-1030

12/9/2007
 
Two Teens Arrested Following Early Morning Fires
 
During the early morning hours of 12/09/2007, Gulfport Police Officers responded to a series of small fires that were suspicious.  The first suspicious fire occurred in an alley just north of the 5200 block of Gulfport Boulevard at approximately 1211 a.m.  Within a half-hour to forty-five minutes, two other small fires were also reported in the 5300 block of Tangerine Avenue South and the 5500 block of 20th Avenue South.  One of these fires damaged a small aluminum shed and burned several trees.  All of the fires appeared to be intentionally set.
 
A citizen observed one of the fires being set by a white male juvenile who rode away from the scene on a BMX style bicycle
 
While on scene during the last reported fire, Sergeant Michael Marotta initiated contacted with two teenage males who were in the area, riding bicycles and acting suspiciously.  During this contact, Sergeant Marotta developed information that linked the two teenagers to the fires.  The teenagers were subsequently arrested.
 
James Hamilton, a 17-year-old resident of St. Petersburg was arrested and charged with one count of arson and one count of criminal mischief.
 
The second juvenile was charged with one count of criminal mischief