UV crime: More fires in Provo, bomb threats

Fire investigators believe the same people or people set three fires early Tuesday morning in west Provo. (Photo courtesy Provo City)

Fire investigators believe the same person or people set three fires early Tuesday morning in west Provo. There has been seven different fires set in Provo since March 13. (Photo courtesy Provo City)

Arsonist strikes again

Provo police and firefighters are teaming up to find whoever is responsible for setting seven fires since March 13.

The fires have destroyed four boarded up duplexes on 4800 North, just west of University Avenue, a house at 1585 W. Center St. and a car at 550 W. 600 South. A fire damaged a boarded up house at 262 E. 700 North and there was a fire in a debris pile at 400 W. 550 South.

All the fires were set between 1 and 5 a.m. The city is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in this case, and has set up at tip line at (801) 852-7400.

Baby killing case

Megan Huntsman, the woman accused of killing six of her newborn babies and boxing them up in a Pleasant Grove garage, will be back in court on April 28. She hasn’t been formally charged in the case yet; prosecutors this week asked for more time to prepare the charges. In the meantime, she’s being held in the Utah County Jail on $6 million bail and has been appointed a public defender.

Bomb threats

Police in Provo and Orem responded to bomb threats on Wednesday and Thursday. In Provo, someone called CVS on Wednesday afternoon and said there was a bomb in a car parked in the parking lot. When police arrived the car wasn’t there, but a bomb-sniffing dog indicated something explosive was inside a UPS package — it turned out to be pharmaceuticals.

In Orem, someone called in a bomb threat at Target on Thursday afternoon. The store was evacuated for a little more than an hour while police searched for explosives; none were found.

Children destroy playground with fire

Two children playing with fire at Park Elementary in Spanish Fork started a blaze on Tuesday night that did $30,000 in damage to playground equipment and $5,000 damage to the school building.

Police say the 8-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy — siblings — used a lighter to ignite some paper and left it on wood chips under the playground equipment. They thought the wind would put out the fire, but instead it spread the flames.

Copper thieves sent to jail

Three people who admitted to stealing copper wire from the Trixie Mine near Eureka will spend time in jail. Robert Valdez, Richard Fernandes and Faith Fernandes took more than 5,000 feet of 3-inch thick multiple strand wire from the mine and caused extensive damage. The price tag for the theft and damage is $1.5 million.

Valdez will spend one to 15 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to a drug charge, which earned him an additional one to 15 years in prison. He’s also got a $60,000 fine.

Richard Fernandes will spend a year in jail with credit for time served. Faith Fernandes will spend 150 days in jail, also with credit for time served. Both Fernandeses will serve probation after getting out of jail.

All three will pay restitution.


Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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