UPDATE: Lincoln Police make arrest in connection with Belmont arson

Posted by: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

8@klkntv.com

43–year–old David Fenstemaker was arrested Tuesday night around 8 p.m. Police say he is responsible for arson and burglary at the Pet Care Center near 14th and Adams.

"It’s kind of a joint effort all along and we’re quite pleased that the outcome was an arrest made last night," said Chief Investigator Bill Moody.

Officials say this surveillance video helped catch the suspect.

"One of our officers who had viewed the video in lineups, observed an individual with a similar gait to that of what he had seen in the surveillance videos from the Pet Care Center," said Chief Jeff Bliemeister.

Officers located Fenstemaker at his girlfriend’s home near Portia Avenue and Adams Streets. Police received consent to search the house and found several items of evidence, including a grey jumpsuit and boots like the suspect was wearing in the surveillance video. They’re still investigating to see if Fenstemaker is responsible for the other 5 arsons in the Belmont area.

"There is a lot of follow up to be completed yet, to determine if David Fenstemaker is responsible for other arsons that we have previously believed are linked," said Chief Bliemeister.

Police are also seeing if he was involved in the previous burglaries at the Pet Care Center.

Officials say this is a step forward in making the area feel safe and that these fires affect more than just the neighborhood.

"Getting this type of crime off the streets does have a bottom line impact to our insurance rates and to our tax rate in the city. Not to mention, the life safety issue and certainly I wouldn’t want to live in fear like those people did in the Belmont area,” said Chief Micheal Despain.

Police are commending the Pet Care Center for enhancing their surveillance video after previous burglaries and say they couldn’t have found the suspect without it.

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UPDATE: Lincoln Police arrested David Fenstemaker in connection with the recent arson at the Pet Care Center near 14th and Adams in the Belmont neighborhood. 

43–year–old David Fenstemaker is now behind bars after getting arrested Tuesday night. Officials say he was inside the Pet Care Center near 14th and Adams, after hours. Sunday night, two fires were set inside the building; making this the 6th arson in the Belmont neighborhood.

Police recognized the man from the surveillance video.

"One of our officers who had viewed the video in lineups, observed an individual with a similar gait to that of what he had seen in the surveillance videos from the Pet Care Center," said Chief Jeff Bliemeister.

Police located Fenstemaker at his girlfriend’s home. They allowed police to search the house and officers found several items of evidence, including a ski mask and boots like the suspect was wearing in the video.

Officers are still investigating if Fenstemaker is connected to the other arsons in the area or the previous burglaries at the Pet Care Center.

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UPDATE: Lincoln Police released video surveillance of the suspected Pet Care Center arsonist. They’re looking for your help locating him.

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Belmont Baptist Church, Aspen Haus, a home near Portia and Hartley, and now the Pet Care Center near 14th and Adams. The list of buildings hit by arson in the Belmont area grew again Sunday night. 

"I just got back from holiday travels and got the call that there was a fire here again," Dr. Amy Walton, with the Pet Care Center, said. "It was a very sinking, devastating, frustrating feeling."

The suspect broke a window to get in, set a fire in this upstairs office, and another in the basement. It’s the sixth arson in the neighborhood since October of last year. The clinic was still recovering from a September fire that started outside the facility and caused a lot of damage. That fire was never officially ruled an arson, but the pet care center isn’t taking any chances.

"We’ve beefed up security since the first fire and we’re looking at getting even tougher now because you know there’s somebody out there lighting fires and it’s a very scary feeling," Walton said.

Some animals were moved as a precaution, but they were all okay. Police are investigating whether or not this is connected to the other arson attacks.

"There was some surveillance video that was working at the time," said Randy Clark with the Lincoln Police. "There was a person in the building that was not supposed to be there at the time described as a white male, wearing a grey jumpsuit, black ski mask, and blue gloves."

They say they need your help to find the person responsible.

"If you saw something, or something rings a bell with you that could possibly be related, don’t dismiss it and contact the Lincoln Police Department because something that you may not think is all that valuable might actually help," Clark said.

There’s about $15,000 of damage to the vet hospital, but it was still able to open up today.

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Lincoln Police are investigating an arson at the Pet Care Center near 14th and Adams. They say it happened between 8 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. Sunday night. It’s the sixth arson in the Belmont area in recent months. Someone broke into the animal clinic and set a fire.

Police say luckily the fire alarm went off and LFR was able to get there quickly and put the flames out.

They say they are investigating this as connected to other arson in the area. They did get video footage of a white male, grey jumpsuit, black ski mask, and blue gloves walking into the Pet Care Center before the fire.

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