Crimestoppers: Person of Interest Identified in Suspicious Fire Investigations

By October 10, 2019 Press Releases

Columbia Police Chief W.H. ‘Skip’ Holbrook announces that CPD investigators have identified a person of interest in connection with suspicious fires that occurred in South Columbia last month.

Citizens are encouraged to call Crimestoppers with information about the person of interest’s activities at the time of the fires in the early morning hours of September 26, 2019.

Jonathan Wesley Hughes (DOB: 6-29-1992) is currently housed at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (ASGDC) charged with First Degree Burglary, Petit Larceny and Hit and Run Unattended Vehicle. His current charges stem from a burglary and hit and run that occurred on September 26, 2019.

Timeline: At 3:05 a.m., Hughes was captured on surveillance video driving erratically along the 200 block of Harden Street in a 1993 Nissan Altima. This was the same car that CPD investigators initially deemed was a vehicle of interest in connection with the suspicious fire investigations. Hughes allegedly collided with a parked vehicle causing $1,000 in damages, left the scene and failed to report the incident to law enforcement.

Then at 3:25 a.m., Hughes is accused of breaking into the victim’s home without permission and stealing electronics. All items from the incident were recovered by CPD officers.  The first suspicious fire occurred in close proximity to Hughes’ location approximately 20 minutes later at 3:45 a.m. at 3205 Cannon Street.

Here’s a recap from the investigation being conducted by CPD, the Columbia Fire Department (CFD), and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). In total, CFD estimates the fires caused $82,000 worth of damages to various properties.

Here are the locations and approximate times of each incident based on witness accounts:

3205 Cannon Street | 3:45 a.m.

  • Small fire in the bed of a truck that was parked in the front yard near the street
  • Flames extinguished by the victim with the use of a garden hose
  • The truck contained miscellaneous items to include foam materials and trash

3218 Heyward Street | 4:00 a.m.

  • Home and two vehicles damaged by flames

3208 Heyward Street | 4:00 a.m.

  • Two trash cans damaged by flames

3530 Heyward Street | 4:25 a.m.

  • Boat cover damaged by flames

The fires all happened in close proximity to each other and investigators believe they are connected at this time.

All persons arrested/charged are presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Citizens with information about the Hughes or the fires are encouraged to contact CRIMESTOPPERS in any of the following ways:

CALL toll-free, 888-CRIME-SC.

LOG onto: www.midlandscrimestoppers.com, and click on the red “Submit a tip” tab.

DOWNLOAD the new P3 Tips App for Apple or Android devices.