Benton City arsonist is avoiding arrest, sheriff’s office offers reward for info

Benton City arsonist is avoiding arrest, sheriff's office offers reward for info
Image provided by Benton County Sheriff's Office

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. — Local authorities are actively looking for a suspect accused of burning a residential building just outside of Benton City in March.

The suspect’s name is James Gaines. He is a 37-year-old man from Burbank, Washington and he is suspected of committing Arson to the first degree. A nationwide extraditable warrant was issued for his arrest. His estimated height and weight are 5-foot-11, 175 lbs. He has brown hair and blue eyes. He’s known to have a full beard but may have shaved by this point.

Authorities say that Gaines is aware that they are looking for him and is currently avoiding arrest. As a result, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office is putting a $1,000 reward for information that would lead to his arrest.

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In a press release issued by the sheriff’s office on Thursday, deputies and fire crews responded to a residential structure fire on Schumacher Private Road on May 26, 2021. The building reportedly burned completely and has since been considered a total loss.

Benton County Detectives urge anyone with information that may contribute to his arrest to reach out directly. You can do so by calling 509-628-033. Authorities stressed that community members should not approach the suspect.

UPDATE at 11 a.m. on June 4: The Benton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the date they provided for this incident was incorrect. Our news staff has updated this piece to reflect that the incident occurred on May 26, not March 26.

This is a developing news story. An update or follow-up article will be issued if/when new information becomes available.


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