Akron woman’s car, Christmas gifts destroyed by arson

AKRON, Ohio - Loren Bell says woke up in the pre-dawn hours last Friday to a knock on his door by a mysterious man saying he needed to call 911.

"By the time we all get out here to see what was what, because we didn't know why he knocked on the door at first, all we see is the car, just blazing over there and the guy was gone, just gone," Bell said.

The car belongs to their neighbor, Shanea Kelly, who went to investigate why her dog was barking to find her car engulfed in flames.

"I mean my whole car was on fire," Kelly said.

No one immediately noticed another fire had been set in a trash bin on the curb nearby.

Kelly lives on a section of Biruta Street that's about a block long with a dead end. Ordinarily, the only people on the street are those who belong there.

"Everybody here is friendly on this street," said Gregory Dees. He said his girlfriend heard a loud explosion, presumably when the car caught on fire.

Kelly had concealed the Christmas gifts she bought for her son, 18 and her daughter, 11, in the trunk so she could surprise them on Christmas morning.

"I had their stuff in the trunk because they are nosy so you know, in the car they don't go in the trunk so I just kept it in the trunk so everything got ruined," she said.

The Akron Fire Department said they have three calls for service on the same street the same night. Officials listed the fires as suspicious.

Lt. Sierjie Lash said investigators are following up on tips, but as of Friday, have no suspects in custody.

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