An Oak Harbor police officer caught a suspected arsonist who was allegedly setting a third fire in the early morning of Dec. 27, according to court documents.
Officer Michael Brown anticipated where the arsonist would strike next, hid in the shadows and caught the suspect, 47-year-old Erik Hendricksen, the officer’s report states.
Hendricksen pleaded not guilty in Island County Superior Court Jan. 8 to attempted arson in the second degree and two counts of reckless burning in the second degree.
Just after midnight Dec. 27, firefighters and police responded to a large dumpster fire next to condos on Southwest Bayshore Drive. Shortly afterward, another dumpster fire, with flames 10 feet in the air, was reported next to an apartment building on Southwest Kimball Drive.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fires before they spread.
Since the second fire was west of the first, Brown went to an apartment building on Southwest Mulberry Place, which was “west and in line with the others,” he wrote.
The officer parked in a dark corner and waited. Within a few minutes he saw a figure dressed in dark clothing stop near a wood pile that was against a shed behind the apartments; soon afterward he saw an orange glow in the wood.
Firefighters later found evidence that there had been a fire in the wood.
Brown quickly arrested the man, later identified as Hendricksen.
The suspect had a lighter in his hand, the report alleges.
Hendricksen denied starting the fires.