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Reward Increases To Catch Heidelberg Project Arsonist

DETROIT (AP) - Federal officials are increasing their reward for information about a series of fires at the Heidelberg Project outdoor art installation in Detroit.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Thursday announced its reward is increasing from $5,000 to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction anyone responsible. The Michigan Arson Prevention Committee has offered $5,000.

Houses in the outdoor art installation have suffered a dozen fires over the past 18 months, with the latest badly burning the "Taxi House." Nearly a year ago, project officials announced that a private donor was offering a $25,000 reward, but the fires continued.

Artist Tyree Guyton founded the Heidelberg Project in 1986 in response to urban decay. The two-block area became known for its art created from vacant houses and shoes, clocks, vinyl records, stuffed animals and other found or discarded objects.

The ATF is working with Detroit arson investigators. Video has been released of a person who appeared to set the Nov. 23 "Taxi House" fire. A video also has been released showing possibly the same person who is believed responsible for a Sept. 18 fire at the nearby Detroit Industrial Gallery.

Other structures torched include the "Clock House," the "War House" and "The House of Soul."

Steven Bogdalek, special agent in charge of the ATF's Detroit Field Division, says the fires "are serious, potentially harmful or deadly to the community and those firefighters who respond to them." He says they want the public's help in solving the case.

Anyone who knows anything about the suspect or the fires is urged to call the Detroit Fire and Arson Tip Line at 313-628-2900.

MORE: Most Recent Heidelberg Project Arsonist Appears To Set Self On Fire (VIDEO)

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