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Police arrest 17-year-old in Waipahu High arson investigation

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:54 a.m. HST, Jul 3, 2010

Following up on a CrimeStoppers tip, Honolulu police yesterday arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with a fire that destroyed a portable building at Waipahu Intermediate School on June 11.

In a taped confession to police, the suspect admitted to helping another man set the blaze, which caused an estimated $560,000 in damage to the structure and its contents.

The suspect told police that he had been drinking with friends on the school grounds prior to the fire. As he was leaving, he saw the second suspect, who had previously “saved” his life during a fight. The second suspect told him he was going to “light up the school” and convinced him to help, the boy said.

The boy said he set fire to a door on the left side of the structure, while the second suspect lit a door on the right side, as well as other areas. Police said the boy’s account was consistent with findings from the ongoing arson investigation.

The boy was arrested for first-degree arson and released pending investigation.

The second suspect, a homeless man believed to be in his early 20s, has not yet been located.

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