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Charges filed against Winthrop tenant in arson case

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Sep. 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm with No Comments »
September 8, 2009 3:17 pm

Pierce County prosecutors have filed arson charges against a 45-year-old man suspected of setting small fires inside the garbage rooms at the Winthrop Apartments in downtown Tacoma.

Theophil J. Braa was charged Tuesday with six counts of first-degree arson. He told investigators he set the fires “because the management of the apartment building was not doing anything about the illegal activities in the building and he wanted to get the attention of the police,” charging documents state.

Tacoma firefighters and police officers have responded to eight intentionally-set fires inside the building at 776 Commerce St. since mid-August. There also have been several false alarms.

The fires have been easily extinguished. No injuries were reported.

Braa lives in the building. He was arrested last week on unrelated charges and came to the attention of Tacoma police investigators. Detectives interviewed Braa on Friday and he eventually admitted to setting six of the eight fires, charging documents state.

Braa provided details on what he used to set the fires. He admitted to pulling two of the false alarms, saying he was upset.

“Though he provided details about the fires only a person would know that was involved in the fires, he would not admit to the fire in the laundry room or other false alarms, saying someone else must be pulling the alarms,” court documents state.

Investigators were continuing to look into the other fires and false alarms at the Winthrop.

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