Crime

Video shows people in a park just before a fire started. Police are looking for them

Before a Sarasota playground was burned, there were several small fires set throughout the park and surveillance video captured footage of three people walking through the area, according to Sarasota police.

Detectives and the State Fire Marshal’s Office continue to investigate the Monday blaze at Pioneer Park, which investigators said they believe was intentionally set.

In their investigation, officials found there were multiple fires lit in the park. A picnic table was burned Jan. 25, but it was not reported, according to police.

Several small burn piles were also found.

On Friday, police released surveillance video captured by a camera at the Historical Society of Sarasota County that shows three people walking near the playground. They were spotted there 2 minutes before the fire broke out around 9 p.m., according to police.

Two people in the video left the park before the fire, walking toward 12th Street and Cocoanut Avenue, police said. Investigators could not determine from the video where the third person went.

Police said in a news release one of the people in the video appeared to be wearing a backpack.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Adam Morningstar at 941-364-7338 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at sarasotacrimestoppers.com.

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Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.
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