MILWAUKEE -- The ATF is now offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any of several commercial fires set during the overnight hours of August 13th and August 14th in Milwaukee.
Angry crowds took to the streets in Milwaukee on Saturday night, August 13th to protest the shooting death of an armed man by a police officer hours earlier. That man was 23-year-old Sylville Smith.
The following are the Milwaukee locations that were set on fire:
- BP Gas Station at 3114 North Sherman Boulevard
- O’Reilly Auto Parts at 3405 West Fond du Lac Avenue
- BMO Harris Bank at 3536 West Fond du Lac Avenue
- Jet Beauty Supply at 3501 West Burleigh Street
- PJ’s Supermarket at 3079 North 21st Street
- MJM Liquor Store at 2229 West Fond du Lac Avenue
- A to Z Wholesale Liquor at 2233 West Fond du Lac Avenue
- Big Jim’s Liquor at 2161 West Hopkins Street
Losses are estimated to exceed several million dollars. Anyone having information about these fires should call the toll-free ATF hotline at 888-ATF-FIRE (888-283-3473). Callers may remain anonymous.
Three of the commercial fires were near Edward Staples' hardware store -- which has been there for 37 years. From the front door, you can see the charred auto parts store and beauty shop.
"You're talking about investment in the neighborhood that might have a big impact on it. Jobs and all this kind stuff, things like that, I think it'll have a big impact on people -- whether they're gonna come and invest in the neighborhood," Staples said.
As investigators try to get clues on who set the gas station on fire, Anthony Hibbler brings over his young drummers from the "Nei Phi Neph" mentoring program.
"When you see kids robbing people and they're doing things, most of the time, it comes from lack. And maybe it's not a lack of the things they're stealing. Maybe it's a lack of discipline. Maybe it's a lack of somebody there to tell them they're greater than the things they're stealing," Hibbler said.
In the Sherman Park neighborhood, Hibbler simply hopes his position will give his kids some recognition.
"We're gonna keep doing our positive thing and if we have to do it right door next to where something crazy happened, then perhaps that's what we have to do to get their attention too and say, 'Hey, we get it, but we're out here doing good,'" Hibbler said.