Leader file photo Witnesses earned a $5,000 reward for a tip about the FOP fire in March. Information is sought for five other arson cases in Niles.

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Tip earns arson witnesses $5K; info on other cases sought

Published 4:57pm Friday, October 5, 2012

Niles police and fire departments March 14 responded to a fully engulfed commercial fire at the Fraternal Order of Police building (FOP) located at 600 N. State St. in Niles. The fire was determined to be arson, and the building sustained a total loss of more than $250,000.

The investigation conducted by the Niles police and fire departments proved that a stolen vehicle was crashed into the building and purposely set on fire, causing the vehicle and FOP to be consumed by the fire.

Several people provided the Niles Police Department with specific information that lead to the arrest and convictions of Kyle Allen Kelley, 19, and Gary Lee Nellans, 25, both of Niles. The information provided by witnesses was instrumental in the successful prosecution of the suspects.

At the conclusion of the case, the Niles Police Department submitted a request to the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee, which is a dedicated arson prevention task force in Michigan, and was awarded $5,000 cash to be paid to the witnesses.

The Niles Police Department is actively investigating five arson fires set in the early part of 2012 and is asking that anyone with information about these intentionally-set house fires contact the Niles Detective Bureau at (269) 683-0404 or use the Niles Police anonymous tip line at www.tipsoft.com.

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