BEND, Ore. - (Update: New details from police, public tips sought)
Two cars, a garbage can and a tree burned along a northwest Bend street early Wednesday in what police called an apparent case of arson. They asked any witnesses to come forward to help solve the case.
Around 3:20 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Northwest Riverside Boulevard, where residents reported hearing a loud boom and seeing a glow in the street from what they said could be several cars on fire, said Lt. Clint Burleigh.
With help from firefighters, the damage was limited to two vehicles, a garbage can and a tree, Burleigh said.
“Based on the initial reports, we are looking at this as an arson investigation,” Burleigh said in a news release, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
Burleigh also told NewsChannel 21 officers are following up on leads, "but I don't think we know enough to know who it is."
Police asked for help from the community. Anyone who was in the area around the time of the incident and witnessed any suspicious activity was asked to call 541-693-6911.
You can also call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.
One of the vehicle fires occurred in front of The Villa Apartments, where some residents said they recalled hearing a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot. When they looked outside, they saw the car on fire and ran outside.
Carl Hays, one of the residents who heard the noise, told NewsChannel 21 what he recalled.
"Unfortunately, all I saw was a car sitting in the middle of the street near Miller's Landing." Hays said. "I looked down the street and saw a car on fire."
Hays said he then went outside to talk to his neighbors.
"They said they heard someone, a male, didn't see anyone. But they heard laughter, either shortly before or shortly after," Hays said. "Then the trash can was set on fire, and another car down the street."
Earlier this year, Hays said, another car was part of a hit-and-run in the area.
"I've only lived here two years," he said. "There's definitely been odd behavior. We live by a park and downtown, but this is the strangest I've seen. It's just weird when it happens outside your window."
We'll update this story through the day, and we will have a full report on NewsChannel 21 Fox @ 4.