Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Could the arson at Mary's house have been prevented?

It looks like the police may have found the two men who destroyed the childhood home of Mary Sawyer, the subject of the poem "Mary had a Little Lamb." In fact, it looks like the authorities have had their eyes on these two for a while:
ORANGE-- Two Clinton men charged with setting a fire last month that destroyed a paper mill warehouse in Erving -- men whom police had tracked for the last month via satellite -- are considered "subjects of interest" in a fire in Sterling last week that destroyed the birthplace of the woman made famous by the poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb."....

Holden Police Chief George R. Sherrill said the men may be connected to a barn fire Aug. 13 in his town and to a fire on Aug. 12 that destroyed the birthplace of Mary Elizabeth Sawyer at 108 Maple St. in Sterling....

Mr. Dreslinski and Mr. Rousseau’s involvement with the Erving fire may have been discovered through a global positioning system surreptitiously installed by police in Mr. Dreslinski’s 2006 Ford Ranger truck on July 19 by court order.
So if these guys set the Erving mill on fire on July 30 as is alleged, and there was enough concern over their behavior that a court ordered them to be tracked by a homing device, why did it take three weeks to apprehend them? If these suspects are in fact responsible for the fire at the Sawyer house, it seems that it could have been prevented by a little bit quicker action.

But I have to remind myself that the police probably were busy with other things as well. I have this picture in my head from watching so many TV shows of a police task force standing around a wall-sized map of the state watching a little red dot race around the map and calling all units to apprehend the little red dot. The reality is probably more like one guy behind a desk looking at the data after a report of suspicious activity comes into the office.

Either way, it seems like a missed opportunity.

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