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Georgia arsonists kept souvenirs

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  • Georgia arsonists kept souvenirs

    Associated Press Writer
    CUMMING, Ga. (AP) - Two men accused of setting more than 10
    fires this spring kept souvenirs from the buildings they torched -
    radios, golf clubs, even a plastic bow-and-arrow set - authorities
    testified Thursday.
    Evidence revealed in a probable cause hearing linked Brandon
    Marty Cook, 25, and Raymond Chad Hansard, 20, to a series of fires
    between April 3 and June 9 in the area. Investigators said the men
    admitted to the fires and burglaries.
    A friend of Cook's and Hansard's also came forward to police
    after the well-publicized string of fires and burglaries. She
    identified Hansard on a surveillance video from a May 29 fire at a
    Suwanee business.
    The homes and cars of Cook and Hansard were later searched and
    authorities found an odd assortment of items reported missing from
    the burned buildings.
    In Hansard's home, authorities found a Honda motorcycle missing
    from a golf course building that was burned. He also held on to a
    children's bow-and-arrow set from a YMCA storage container that was
    burned, said Lt. Kevin Wallace, an arson investigator with the
    Forsyth County Fire Department.
    Magistrate Judge Barbara Cole agreed there was enough evidence
    for the cases to proceed. She again denied bond for both men.
    Hansard and Cook have yet to face at least 10 similar charges
    from fires set in Gwinnett County last month.
    Fifty arson fires set in Fulton, Gwinnett and Forsyth counties
    from April to June were similar in terms of origin and items found
    in the buildings that were used to start the fires, police have
    Hansard's attorney, Jeffrey Purvis, said the stolen items found
    on Hansard don't prove he started the fires.
    "Recovering evidence does not necessarily mean that someone
    started a fire," Purvis said.
    Cook's attorney, Lawrence Delan, said there was no physical
    evidence proving Cook was involved. Investigators never got
    fingerprints from any of the fires.
    "The only evidence you have on him is statements. That's it,"
    Delan said.
    The Forsyth County district attorney, Penny Penn, insisted it
    was clear the men were behind all the arsons.
    "These fires all involved the same M.O.," Penn said.
    The men will next face indictment proceedings and the Gwinnett
    The fires in Forsyth County were set at either businesses, cars
    or unoccupied homes. No one was injured in any of the fires.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved
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