lights and sirens

Tucson police are investigating a series of overnight arson attempts that stretched across town, officials said.

At about 1 a.m., the Tucson Police Department started receiving calls about a series of fires at local businesses, said Sgt. Pete Dugan.

At each of the four scenes, officers learned that a person threw a molotov cocktail-type incendiary device at the business in an attempt to start a fire. In some of the instances, the devices ignited, Dugan said.

The locations of the four attempted fire bombings are:

  • 203 E. Speedway, a Starbucks that is under construction
  • 4711 E. Speedway, Chase Bank
  • 2302 E. Speedway, Marine Corps Recruiting Center
  • 555 N. Wilmot Road, Wells Fargo Bank

All four buildings sustained minor damage but no one was injured during the incidents, Dugan said, adding that the locations don't appear to be random.

"Detectives are trying to find a motive and why the person or persons chose these specific businesses," Dugan said.

Members of TPD's arson unit and bomb squad, Tucson Fire Department arson investigators and the FBI are all assisting in the investigation.

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"The scariest part is, not only was the person trying to catch a building on fire which could cause millions of dollars in damages, but the suspect also didn't know that there was nobody inside any of the businesses," Dugan said.

No suspect has been identified, but the person is facing multiple felonies, including arson of a business, possibly terrorism or even federal charges, Dugan said.

Anyone who has any information about the fires or people involved is asked to call 1-800-35-ARSON, the Arizona chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators, which offers a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Tipsters can also call 911 or 88-CRIME.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191