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South Jordan PD offers new details in arson investigation, seeks help identifying suspect

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 19:13:11-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – New information is emerging in an arson investigation in South Jordan.

Police believe a potential suspect may be a teenager, and they said the teen likely lives near the scene of the crime.

The fire destroyed a home valued at about a half of a million dollars. The house was under construction but nearly ready to be moved into, and a house next door that was damaged had just been framed. The fire broke out the night of July 11.

Late last week, investigators confirmed this was a case of arson, and they released grainy video of a young person running from the scene.

Since then, police have obtained another home video that shows what appears to be the same person heading toward the homes before the fire started, this time on a skateboard.

Police believe this person is either junior high or high school age, and they said the teen likely has critical information about how the fire started and may even be the arsonist.

They also say now would be a very good time for this individual to turn themselves in.

“The guilt that arises from finding out that if you were just playing with fire and burned down a couple of million dollar homes,” said Lt. Matt Pennington with South Jordan PD. “They can come forward and say: ‘Hey, this was an accident, there was no intent there.’ And come forward take ownership of that.”

The suspect is described as a young white man who stands between 5-feet 4-inches and 5-feet 7-inches tall. The suspect has a thin build.

He was seen riding his skateboard prior to the blaze but then was seen running away from the fire, and detectives never did find that skateboard. They think it may have been destroyed by the fire.

Police also believe this young person lives near the scene of the crime, and they're asking anyone out there who may have seen anything suspicious that night to give them a call.

"What we are hoping for is that somebody comes forward and says, ‘Hey, we know this kid or we know somebody that matches this description,' so we can then kind of narrow our suspects down," Pennington said.

Anyone with information about the case or the suspect should call 801-840-4000.