Salt Lake man starts fires to get back at reporter, police say

Published: Monday, May 12 2014 11:55 p.m. MDT

A Salt Lake man was charged Monday after police say he started several fires to get back at a TV news reporter.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man was charged Monday after police say he started several fires to get back at a TV news reporter.

Wilbert Edward Fike Jr., 56, was charged in 3rd District Court with threat of terrorism, a second-degree felony, and three counts of arson with damage less than $500, a class A misdemeanor.

Court documents say Fike admitted to setting five fires May 2-4 — one near 634 S. 400 West, three in the Memory Grove area near 485 N. Canyon Road, and one near 300 N. State. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fires, all of which investigators found to be incendiary.

On May 3, a reporter for KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City received an email from an account reportedly belonging to Fike. The email said the reporter "had no trouble being a bully to me when I was handcuffed in a police car. Suffering from my depression, asking, 'Do you have anything to say?' Now it is my turn. Each fire that I do tonight I dedicate to (the reporter). How many can I do? No buildings or vehicles," court documents state.

Court records did not indicate when the alleged exchange took place between Fike and the reporter.

On May 5, Fike was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on $75,000 bail.

A search of court records shows Fike pleaded guilty to arson and attempted arson in 2012. He also pleaded guilty to arson in 2007.

— Morgan Jacobsen

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