Hurricane Police Sgt. Stacey Gubler said Harper was arrested following a task force investigation into numerous suspicious fires reported over the past year and a half in Hurricane and St. George.
Harper is suspected of setting fire to a $15,000 dollar fifth-wheel travel trailer on August 9 and torching a shed in town early Tuesday morning in Hurricane. Both fires threatened or damaged other vehicles or structures before being extinguished by Hurricane Valley Fire District firefighters.
He is a suspect in numerous vehicle fires reported in both cities, according to Gubler, who interviewed Harper prior to his arrest. Additional charges are expected to be filed against him in some of those St. George cases, Gubler said.
Members of the ad hoc task force, formed specifically to investigate the arson-caused fires in the area included Gubler, St. George Fire Department Captain Jason Whipple, Hurricane Valley Fire Chief Tom Kuhlmann and State Fire Marshall Todd Hohbein.
“We formed the task force to pool our resources and information, with each one of us working on different aspects of the case," Gubler said.
"Once the task force began sharing evidence, it became clear there were similarities between all the cases," said Kuhlmann.
“Information sharing was the key." Whipple said St. George had about six vehicle fires that were similar in their evidence and that led to a suspect,” Kuhlmann said. “This arrest wouldn’t have happened without the task force working together and pooling resources. It allowed us to connect the dots.”
Harper is also charged with a third-degree felony count of arson and public intoxication.
For additional information go to Hurricane Police Department