02-01-2018 Police Report

Police Report By Annette Christie Hartford man pleads guilty to arson Kyle David Norden, 40, of Hartford, appeared in Van Buren County Circuit Court last week and pled guilty to two counts of arson. He was charged in October with six counts of arson following a task force investigation into suspicious fires in Van Buren County. Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that over the course of several months there were suspicious fires that the fire chiefs made him aware of. These fires all seemed suspicious in nature and it was believed to have had human intervention and deemed as arson. A task force was set up by Sheriff Abbott on October 20, 2017 to look further into the fires. Deputies within the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office along with the local fire departments began to look more closely at all fires recently fitting a unique profile. The profile included abandoned residences and detached out buildings specific to the Hartford, Keeler, Bangor area. On October 20, 2017 a subject came to speak with Sheriff Abbott personally about a possible suspect. The suspect was brought to the Sheriff’s Office and was subsequently interviewed by deputies. Kyle David Norden confessed to lighting five fires in Van Buren and two additional in Berrien County. The locations of the Van Buren County fires are 41000 block of 66th, Bangor Township; 9000 block of Hager Shore Rd, Watervliet Township; 46000 block of 60th St., Hartford Township; 70000 block of 62nd St., Hartford Township; 86000 block of CR681, Keeler Township; and 65000 77th Ave., Keeler Township. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office reached out to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and requested a specially trained K9. K9 handler Deputy Dekorte and his partner Ritzey responded to assist in the investigation. K9 Ritzey is trained investigating arsons and the presence of accelerants used in fires. Ritzey had several positive indications at numerous fire scenes related to these cases. Once K9 Ritzey indicated to the presence of accelerants, evidence was collected and will be sent to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Norden faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for second degree arson and a maximum of 10 years in prison for the third degree arson. He will be sentenced on February 26. He is being held in the Van Buren County Jail on a $100,000 cash/surety bond.

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