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Fire-Starting 'Ninja' May Have Struck Again in Forest Hills, Police Say

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 27, 2015 2:07pm | Updated on November 29, 2015 7:46pm
Forest Hills Fires
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QUEENS — The fire-starting "ninja" suspected of being behind some of the seven recent suspicious fires in Forest Hills may have struck again on Thanksgiving eve, sources said.

Now fire marshals and police investigators have determined that four of the blazes were the results of arson.

On Friday, police released video footage of the suspected arsonist during the latest blaze which erupted at a two-story home at 108-47 67th Dr., near 110th St., shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

 The most recent fire in the Forest Hills area destroyed a two-story home on 67th Dr. near 110th St.
The most recent fire in the Forest Hills area destroyed a two-story home on 67th Dr. near 110th St.
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112th Precinct/Twitter

A neighbor saw a man in his 30s wearing all black in the area shortly before the fire erupted, sources said.

Investigators also found a note, which appeared to be left there by the person setting the fires, at that site, according to police officials. It was not immediately known what the note said.

The other fires that were ruled arson broke out on Nov. 8 at 68-60 112th St., on Nov. 15 at 112-35 69th Rd. and on Nov. 17 108-49 66th Ave., police said.

As first reported by DNAinfo.com New York on Tuesday, investigators probing the fires also have surveillance video showing a man “looking like a ninja,” wearing all black and scaling a wall during the Nov. 17 incident at 108-49 66th Ave., police sources said.

All seven recent suspicious fires broke out at vacant buildings that were being renovated or under construction. Most of them were clustered in the area between Jewel and 65th avenues and between Queens Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway. No injuries were reported in any of those incidents, but in two fires the flames were so severe that they spread to nearby homes. 

In all four arson cases, the suspect entered the sites and ignited flammable combustibles, before fleeing on foot, officials said.

On Friday, police officials said the motive is still unknown and it was not clear whether an accelerant had been used by the arsonist.

But police sources said that investigators are looking into a variety of possible motives, including anger against the new homes in the neighborhood that some locals say do not fit the area, insurance payments and circumventing zoning regulations. 

The FDNY did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).