The University of Southern Mississippi Police Department is seeking information in its attempt to solve an arson case on the Hattiesburg campus.
University Police are investigating fires that occurred at about 7:30 a.m. today and one that occurred yesterday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., both in the east wing of Scott Residence Hall.
Upon inspection, police found that an advertisement on a bulletin board was set afire; the other occurred when a poster affixed to the front of a maintenance closet door was set ablaze. Both fires resulted in minor damage and were extinguished by residence hall staff shortly after they were set.
The University Police Department has collected physical evidence in the case and is conducting an investigation, and has reason to believe the same person or group of people is responsible for setting both fires. A $1,000 reward is being offered by University Crime Stoppers to anyone with information that could lead to an arrest in this case. All information received will be kept confidential.
“We are placing high priority on identifying the individual, or individuals, involved in this incident,” said University Police Chief Bob Hopkins. “This kind of activity will not be tolerated on our campus.”
The Southern Miss Department of Residence Life will supplement this cash reward with a free semester of housing to any student who provides information to University Crime Stoppers leading to an arrest in the case.
“Even if it is considered to be a prank by some, it poses a threat to the safety of the facility and its residents,” said Department of Residence Life Director Dr. Chris Crenshaw. “We are going to do all we can to deter and prevent this kind of incident from happening again.”
To report information to University Crime Stoppers, call 601.266.4986. Contact University Police at 601.266.4986 or Residence Life at 601.266.4783 for more information.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.