Over the last two weeks, the Minneapolis Police Department has fielded four separate reports of arson in Southwest Minneapolis' Fulton neighborhood. Concentrated around Pershing Park, investigators think the incidents could be related, according to police spokesperson Sgt. William Palmer.
The series of incidents began just before midnight on June 11. In his report on the incident, Sgt. Timothy Mattsson dryly noted how he came upon "flames coming from an unknown object" while on routine patrol at Pershing Park. The object, it turns out, was a porta-poty. Mattsson's report didn't indicate how much damage the toilet sustained before a Minneapolis Fire Department crew arrived to put out the blaze, or what the smell was like.
It wasn't the last of Pershing's portable toilets to meet this end—one more fell victim to a firebug on June 16—but it was the most serious of the four arson incidents. On June 17, a driver reported two lawn signs on fire near midnight, and on June 19, the police arson unit was called to a set of burning recycling bins.
Palmer said police don't have enough information yet to say who might be behind the incidents, or what their motives are. One 911 caller, though, reported seeing a 15-year old boy running away from a pair of flaming lawn signs. She was able to douse the flames, and told officers the boy was wearing a grey long-sleeve shirt and grey shorts. Officers checked the area and were unable to locate the boy.