Friday morning the Birmingham Police Department arrested another of its police officers for a string of arsons in Ensley last month. Police have not released the suspect’s name pending formal charges being made against the officer, possibly later today.
The Birmingham News reports that the suspect is a 35-year-old officer who joined the force in 2009 and was in the same rookie class as the first suspect arrested in the case, patrolman Curtis Thornton.
Like Thornton, the most recent suspect worked the morning shift, from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., in the Western Precinct. The suspect was arrested at the end of his shift Friday morning.
Since Thornton was arrested last month, there have been persistent rumors of other officers involved, but today’s arrest is the first official evidence of what could be a conspiracy to burn down abandoned homes in Birmingham. At least 14 abandoned houses in Ensley burned during the arson spree in May.
In a statement released Friday, Police Chief A.C. Roper did not address a possible conspiracy among Birmingham police officers to burn abandoned homes, which are frequently seedbeds for crime, but instead he commended the police department for its investigation and promised to pursue the case to the end.
“The investigation has progressed well as we continue to dig deeper into this arson investigation,” Roper said. “We are still chasing leads but the evidence thus far has led us to arrest another officer. I am pleased that our investigators are representing the department with professionalism and honor as they conduct a methodical and comprehensive investigation.”