TALLMADGE — Two teenage Tallmadge boys have been charged with fourth-degree felony delinquency by arson in connection with a Feb. 5 fire that caused thousands of dollars in damage to the women’s restroom at Lions Park, Police Chief Ron Williams said Wednesday.
Williams said the boys, ages 16 and 17, were charged after they turned themselves in at the police department, the younger boy on Feb. 14 and the older boy on Tuesday.
"They both confessed to doing what they did," he said.
According to a police report, the fire occurred at around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5. By the next day, the city’s fire marshal had determined the fire was arson.
"He stated the fire was started with toilet paper which caused the entire bathroom to go up in flames," states the report. "The damage to the bathroom was significant including all the toilet stalls, sink walls and ceiling."
In the report, the damage was estimated at $8,000, but Williams said the city’s insurance company estimated it at $5,800.
The report says that a park security camera outside the restroom caught two people entering the bathroom at 7:32 p.m. and then running out a couple of minutes later. Williams said that a police officer recognized at least one of the boys from the footage. Williams said both boys were taken directly to Summit County Juvenile Court after their arrests, but he did not know if they were held in custody after that.
The fire came several days after a similar, but smaller fire was reported in the park’s men’s restroom. According to a police report, a city street department employee reported Feb. 3 that someone set toilet paper on fire in the restroom sink, causing an estimated $50 in staining damage to the sink, during the previous few days.
Williams said the two boys have not been charged in that incident due to a lack of evidence linking them to it.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.