A 28-year-old man suspected in a series of arsons in a neighborhood near Langley was allegedly caught in the act by a deputy on a late-night stakeout, according to court records.
Prosecutors charged Ryan T. Parish in Island County Superior Court Oct. 24 with two counts of arson in the second degree.
If convicted of the charges, he could face up to one year and two months in prison under the standard sentencing range.
Lt. Evan Tingstad said someone started five arson fires in the Whitehorse Lane neighborhood during a five-week period this fall. The suspected arsonist targeted fences, a port-a-potty, a brush pile and a car port, which sustained significant damage.
Tingstad said deputies spoke to people in the neighborhood, but decided not to alert the public because they had a good suspect. Parish lives in the small neighborhood and has a juvenile history of arson, according to Tingstad and court documents.
Tingstad said arson cases are very hard to solve and they wanted to catch the suspect red-handed, which is what allegedly happened.
Tingstad sent Deputy Scott Davis on a stakeout Oct. 19.
Davis wrote in his report that he was wearing night-vision goggles and saw Parish arrive home in a car.
Parish allegedly walked across the road to a large pile of trash bags, tore some open, sprayed them with WD40, pulled out a Zippo lighter and ignited the bags, according to the report.
After seeing flames about a foot high, the deputy arrested Parish on suspicion of arson.
Parish allegedly admitted to starting the fire, telling the deputy that he “just needed to burn something,” according to the report.
“Parish readily admitted he had problems dealing with his urge to start fires and needs help with this problem,” Davis wrote in his report.