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October 28, 2011 09:56 PM

Neighborhood Quiet; Residents Still Worried

Sioux Falls, SD


Increased police presence and a hefty reward may be why it has been so quiet in a Sioux Falls neighborhood that's seen a string of 16 suspicious fires since August.  

"I felt a lot safer when I had a fence up and a garage," fire victim Megan VanLiere said. "Not everyone could see every activity in my backyard."

VanLiere's yard still looks like a construction zone. Charred remains are the only thing left from a fire that completely destroyed her garage and damaged the house in early October.

"I would really like to see somebody get caught," VanLiere said. "Look at what you've done to everybody."

No one has been caught. But there also have not been any more fires. It may be due to a $10,000 reward police put out to try and stop the criminals.

"That was always a concern of everybody; that these fires might lead to somebody hurt or killed," Sioux Falls Police Information Officer Sam Clemens said. 

Neighborhood residents say the nights are quiet because everyone is watching out for each other, including police.
"Last weekend especially they were all over the place," VanLiere said So yes, I felt safe then, but the cops have to be in the neighborhoods around the city. So I can't imagine they're gonna be around every night we need them."

VanLiere's home is getting back to normal. Crews will finish the siding Saturday and she hopes to rebuild the garage before the snow flies. But she says getting her bearings back will take some time.

"I hope it's over," VanLiere said. "I hope from here on out it's the safest neighborhood around. But lost a lot of trust with what happened."

Police are still following up on leads. The arson task force is also sifting through evidence from the fires.
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