Police say there is still a chance the man charged with setting six rural fires in Wellington County could be linked to more.
Wellington County OPP Const. Marylou Schwindt said there are roughly 30 suspicious fires currently under investigation, although it’s not known in all cases if all 30 are related.
“We don’t have a firm number on that,” Schwindt said.
Justin Beal, 28, was arrested on Friday, Oct. 27, in Rockwood and was charged with six counts of arson on rural properties around Guelph between October 2016 and June 2017.
He appeared in a Guelph court Monday morning and was released on bail.
“These six for sure we’re saying are him. But we are looking to see if he’s linked to any other ones as well. But at this point we have links to these six,” she said.
The investigation, which included a number of agencies, including the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office, is still investigating the other fires.
Schwindt said the public’s help is still being sought.
“We are still asking the public to call with tips or information,” Schwindt said. “Maybe they know something about this guy that we need to know now that this information’s come to light.”
Police haven’t ruled out that there could be accomplices or other, unrelated, individuals involved in any of the fires.
Beal was charged in relation to the following fires:
• Oct. 14, 2016 house fire at 5230 Third Line, Guelph/Eramosa
• Oct. 19, 2016 house fire at 5292 Third Line, Guelph/Eramosa
• Feb. 3, 2017 shed fire at 6873 Highway 7 Guelph/Eramosa
• Feb. 3, 2017 house and barn fire at 5413 Township Road 3, Guelph/Eramosa
• June 25, 2017 shed fire at 5324 Wellington Road 125, Erin
• June 25, 2017 house fire 8813 Sideroad 27, Erin
Anyone with any information about these arsons or any other suspicious fire is urged to contact Detective Heidi Pautsch or Detective Mark Allen at 519-846-5930, or contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip online. You may be eligible for a reward from Crime Stoppers of up to $2,000.