Crime Stoppers offers $1,000 reward for Winthrop serial arsonist

Crime Stoppers of Tacoma and Pierce County is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of an alleged serial arsonist in the Winthrop apartment building in downtown Tacoma.

According to police, since Aug. 3 there have been at least four small fires started inside trash cans located in storage and laundry areas throughout the building, which is located at 776 Commerce St. The fires have resulted in over $15,000 in damages.

In addition to the fires, there have been numerous incidents where an unidentified suspect has falsely pulled the fire alarms inside the building.

The issue was raised earlier this month in an interview series with several Winthrop residents and published in the Index. “Lately, we’ve gone back to someone pulling the fire alarm at 3:30 in the morning,” said Winthrop resident David Allen in a recent interview. “You don’t know if there’s actually a fire and the building is going to burn down.”

According to a statement released Thursday by the Tacoma Fire Department (TFD), fire crews, residents and a sprinkler activation system have contained the fires. The property management team has increased security and surveillance measures, and the incidents are currently under joint investigation by TFD and the Tacoma Police Department.

If you have any information regarding these incidents, you are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (253) 591-5959.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Winthrop Hotel, click on the following links:

In 2009, the Tacoma Daily Index published a series of interviews with many residents of the Winthrop Hotel. To read the complete series, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at