A police officer will find out what it’s like to be on the other side of the bars of a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama after he was arrested today on arson charges.
A Birmingham police officer was taken into custody on Thursday for a series of fires in the city of Warrior, Alabama. Curtis Joshua Thornton faces charges for the fires in Warrior and is also a suspect in the Ensley fires. Thornton is charged with two counts of arson, attempted arson and felony criminal mischief.
State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk stated the 27-year-old Thornton of Warrior had been a suspect for some time in the investigation of five fires that were set in an abandoned mobile home and other properties near the police officer’s home.
Thornton joined the Birmingham Police Department in 2009. He worked as a patrol officer in the West Precinct. According to West Precinct Captain Jerry Wiley, Thornton’s fellow officers were shocked by his arrest. He commented that we investigate criminals, but sometimes they wear blue uniforms.
While off duty,Thornton was picked on Thursday and then charged on Friday. Court records were not clear as to whether or not Thornton has an attorney.
Although Thornton has not been charged in a series of fires in Ensley, he is considered a suspect in these fires, too. Investigators say 12 house fires had been set intentionally in Ensley.
Fire Marshal Paulk spoke with FOX 6 News about the different motivations for an arsonist. Paulk stated the most dangerous arsonists are the serial arsonists, and they often share several characteristics. These arsonists are usually male and have a history of substance abuse and of police arrests. They are dangerous because their actions create an atmosphere of fear in a community. Paulk state that the fire will naturally attract people, but if you start seeing more than one (person) at an area where there are fires and see them on multiple occasions that could lead to suspicions.
Authorities haven’t confirmed that the Ensley fires are the work of a serial arsonist, but they do believe the fires are related.