KEY POINTS

  • Alleged arsonist Joshua Rauch was arrested Saturday for setting fires in Houston
  • Rauch "confessed" to have started at least seven fires throughout the Houston area
  • Arson investigators discovered Rauch's vehicle in surveillance footage of some of the fires
  • Rauch is facing second-degree arson and can be upgraded to first-degree, said officials 

Authorities have arrested a man who is allegedly responsible for intentionally starting several fires in Houston’s Greater Heights area in recent weeks.

Joshua Rauch was taken into custody Saturday following arson investigators discovered that his vehicle was at the location of some of the fires. This gave officials enough probable cause to get an approval from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to place a tracking device on the 28-year-old's vehicle “to follow his movements,” ABC News reported.

Investigators said their search for the arson suspect started with a blaze on West 34th Street. Surveillance footage then led them to UH-Downtown. Arson investigators, with the help of local police, were able to identify Rauch and obtained a search warrant for his cell phone data alongside the tracking device.

A car is set on fire and a shop near the Champs-Elysees is looted after the Champions League final as some Paris Saint-Germain fans are angered by their team's defeat in Lisbon. A car is set on fire and a shop near the Champs-Elysees is looted after the Champions League final as some Paris Saint-Germain fans are angered by their team's defeat in Lisbon. Photo: AFPTV / Emeline HENRY

Rauch is charged with second-degree arson and can be upgraded to first-degree arson if the alleged crime happened at a residence or a place of worship, said KHOU 11.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said the alleged suspect “confessed” to have started at least seven fires throughout the Houston area. Rauch mostly set vehicles, trash cans and sheds on fire, Pena added during a press conference following the arrest.

“I can’t stress enough how proud I am of our folks and the work that they have done in getting this very dangerous individual off the street as quickly as they did,” said ABC News, citing a statement from Pena.

Fire Investigator Alison Stein told the outlet that they spotted Rauch’s silver Ford Focus at two fire locations. While she declined to comment on the number of fires the suspect has allegedly confessed, Stein added that they are in the process of “questioning” Rauch and that he is “confessing to multiple fires.”

Investigators are probing on whether Rauch is responsible for a series of fires on October 4 in Houston’s Lazybrook neighborhood. Officials said a Molotov cocktail was hurled into two residential properties.

No one was reported injured during the incident, authorities said.

“I want to remind Houstonians that arson, no matter in what form, if it’s committed in the City of Houston, the Houston Fire Department arson bureau will find you, we will arrest you and we will prosecute you,” Pena said. 

Rauch appeared in court Saturday where his bond was set for $50,000. His next appearance was scheduled on Monday.