VENUS (AP) - Johnson County Sheriff's Office arrested Patrick Davidson Pantuso, 21, of Venus on Sunday, charging him with arson for allegedly starting a fire in the Venus area.
Sheriff Bob Alford said an investigation by his agency and STOP Special Crimes has been ongoing for the past two weeks. Information on a suspect was developed with leads from several people, including the city of Venus fire chief, he said.
The incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, on County Road 506, north-northwest of Farm-to-Market 157 in Venus, with Alford saying investigators were able to determine from witness statements and surveillance that Pantuso set the fire. An arrest warrant was obtained, with investigators taking Pantuso into custody off of Mitchell Saxon Road in Fort Worth, Alford said.
Alford said Pantuso has admitted to authorities he had set seven fires in the Venus area in the past two and a half weeks, including one in Ellis County and others on county roads 505, 506 and 514. Each of the fires was small in size, with no structures involved, Alford said.
Pantuso was booked into the Johnson County Jail on one count of second-degree felony arson, Alford said, saying additional charges are pending.
Johnson County investigators are continuing their investigation into at least 10 arson fires that occurred between Joshua and Godley in the last month that destroyed numerous structures, Alford said.
Alford said he's requesting all Johnson County residents be vigilant in their outdoor activities.
"Fires will easily start during drought conditions we are currently experiencing," he said.
Residents noticing anything of a suspicious nature are asked to call the Johnson County Sheriff's Office at 817-556-6058 or, in the event of an emergency, 911.