Pair charged in string of Fort Wayne arsons

Crime

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A second suspect has been arrested in a string of arsons that included vans owned by Mad Anthony Brewing Company.

Sebastian Smith, 19, faces felony charges of Arson and Institutional Criminal Mischief.

Police said Smith and another man – 20-year-old Aaron Chason – set a series of fires in the area of Broadway and Taylor Street last Thursday and Friday. Chason has been charged with  felony Arson and Resisting Law Enforcement, a misdemeanor.

Pictured are Sebastion Smith and Aaron Chason.

According to a probable cause affidavit, police said Chason “did confess on video and in writing that he and Sebastian Smith were walking around with kerosene and did light a dumpster, a truck, and a fence on fire.”

The pair also attempted to light a stack of pallets on fire, the affidavit said, all in the area of Broadway and Taylor Street.

It was Friday around 3:15 a.m. when two vans belonging to Mad Anthony Brewing, parked behind the restaurant, caught fire. Investigators said they believed it was arson.

At least four fires were reported near Broadway Thursday and Friday, according to fire department log records. They were not officially connected to the Mad Anthony Brewing incident.

Police investigating one of the fires found two people sitting near a church, facing each other, with a lit lighter, according to the affidavit. As police approached, both of the males walked off then ran, and police chased after them.

Mad Anthony Brewing Company vans were set fire on the morning of June 18, 2021.

Chason was eventually arrested in an alleyway north of Creighton Avenue. He told police he ran because he had a cigarette and he was only 20, the affidavit said.

Smith was arrested Tuesday.

In the affidavit, police said Chason told them he bought a small can of kerosene at Walmart to use as an accelerant to start at least one of the fires. He said he then handed it to hit accomplice who then poured it to started two other fires, and attempted to light another, the affidavit said.

The fires were “simply targets of opportunity,” the affidavit said.

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