McCUNE — Investigators believe they have arrested the woman responsible for a series of arson fires which have plagued the small town of McCune over the last three years.
According to a release from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 9:34 p.m. Monday, investigators from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office and CRSO arrested Sherry L. Kerby, 46, of McCune, on one count of arson of a dwelling.
According to the release, further investigation led to additional charges of five counts of residential arson, as well as one count of aggravated arson.
Kerby's arrest was made after almost 3 years of investigation by the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office and the Crawford County Sheriff's Office into the intentional burning of 13 structures in McCune from Sept. 5, 2015 to July 3, 2018.
Some of the fires include:
• 602 Elm Street — September 5, 2015
• 709 6th Street — November 7, 2015
• 503 Brunetti Drive — November 8, 2015
• 711 6th Street — April 4, 2016
• 703 6th Street — March 28, 2017
• 606 7th Street — June 18, 2017
• 704 7th Street — July 20, 2017
• 511 Walnut Street — July 21, 2017
• 812 6th Street — August 2, 2017
According to the Crawford County Register of Deeds Office, none of the properties were owned by the same person or persons.
In August of last year the McCune City Council offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.
Kerby is being held on $350,000 bond.
Residential arson is a level six non-person felony punishable by 17-48 months in prison. Aggravated arson, defined as intentionally setting a fire to an occupied residence, is a level 3 person felony, punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of between 55 and 247 months. If convicted on all counts, Kerby is facing between approximately 13 and 44 years in prison, as well as associated fines and restitution.
Although Kerby was arrested in the matter, these and other arsons remain under investigation by the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office and the Crawford County Sheriff's Office. Anyone having information related to these incidents, or other crimes, is urged to contact the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 620-724-8274, or the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office at 785-296-3401.
As of press time formal charges have been submitted to the court for proceedings, and it was unclear if Kerby has an attorney.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.