By CHELSEA KROTZER
Three teens were arrested Tuesday and one remains at large after four Lacey homes were set on fire, causing more than $400,000 in damage.
Two 16-year-old boys are accused of five counts of arson, burglary and malicious mischief, according to Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin.
A 13-year-old boy is accused of one count of arson, burglary and malicious mischief. A 17-year-old thought to be involved hasn’t been found. All four live in the northwestern part of the county, Elwin said.
“It’s all looking like just runaway kids with poor motivation,” Elwin said. “They didn’t target these houses because of who owned them or because of where they were. It was just a crime of opportunity.”
Three homes in the 4000 block of 20th Avenue Northeast off Sleater-Kinney Road were set on fire Saturday morning. Flames spread to a fourth house.
The homes were under construction and part of the new Trailside housing development, a part of Freestone Communities.
A fire was set in the entryway of another home in the same development Tuesday morning, causing $10,000 in damage.
While responding to Tuesday morning’s fire, sheriff’s deputies saw three boys on bicycles in the area.
“They were essentially chased from the scene,” Elwin said. “Deputies established a perimeter and used a K9, but couldn’t find them.”
Neighbors helped police identify the teens, and Elwin said an anonymous tip led to their whereabouts.
The 13-year-old was involved in the Tuesday fire, Elwin said. He was not sure the level of involvement from the 17-year-old.
“It doesn’t look like he was involved in all of them, but we have a little bit of conflicting stories,” he said.
Elwin described the boys as “habitual runaway, youth-at-risk kids,” one of whom had a warrant for his arrest.
If they are convicted, penalties for the teenagers will depend on their criminal history and any charges are filed against them, said juvenile prosecuting attorney Megan Winder.
Juvenile penalties range from community service and probation to time in juvenile prison, Winder said.
The boys are being held in juvenile detention at the Family and Juvenile Court until their first appearance Wednesday afternoon, she said.
Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476