An anonymous donor recently kicked in $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in a string of suspicious fires that have plagued Burnet County since April 2020. The amount brings the reward total to $37,000.
The Burnet County Commissioners Court approved accepting the reward during its Jan. 25 meeting. The reward will be managed through the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, said County Judge James Oakley. He and the commissioners hope the additional reward will lead to an arrest.
In the past nine months, about 17 suspicious fires have occurred across the county and in neighboring Lampasas County. Four were reported in the city of Burnet, two in the city of Lampasas, and 11 in the unincorporated portions of Burnet County, most in the north-central part.
A task force consisting of local, state, and federal agencies is investigating the blazes.
The most recent suspected arson occurred Dec. 9, 2020, and destroyed the Mahomet Church in north-central Burnet County. One of the common factors, officials said, is the structures are unoccupied or used infrequently.
Burnet County law enforcement agencies are asking people who have an unoccupied structure on their property or live near one to keep an eye on them. If they see any suspicious activity, they are asked to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office at 512-756-8080.
In October 2020, the Burnet City Council chipped in $10,000 for the reward. Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers added another $2,000.
Anyone with information regarding the fires should contact the BCSO at 512-756-8080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips can also be made to Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers by calling 1-866-756-8477 or through its website.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article featured a photo of the Bethel Community Center, which burned on May 9, and referred to it as an arson. This was inaccurate, the fire was the result of an electrical issue. We apologize for this mistake.