Second telecom mast arson suspect caught; 19th mast catches fire in Waddinxveen
A second suspect was taken into custody on Friday as part of the investigation into a series of arsons targeting telecommunications transmitter masts across the Netherlands. Hours after the arrest was announced, another mast was set on fire in Waddinxveen, Zuid-Holland.
At least 19 masts have caught on fire in various locations over the past few weeks. Police believe arson to be the cause of most if not all of them.
The suspect captured on Friday morning was identified as a 24-year-old from Swifterbant, a small town which falls under the municipality of Dronten. He was questioned over an April 10 fire which took place on Guldendreef in Dronten.
Authorities were also looking into whether or not he took part in other fires elsewhere, and if he had an accomplice in the Dronten incident. About 30 minutes before the fire took place, two men in a silver Mercedes were seen filling up a Jerry can with petrol at a nearby gas station.
Gasoline has been used to set many of the arsons, police said in several different incident reports.
A 34-year-old man from Groningen was arrested on Thursday in connection with a mast fire there. In that case surveillance video showed a man pouring liquid out of a Jerry can moments before the mast went up in flames.
Fire in Waddinxveen on Saturday morning
Bij de Bloemendaalseweg bij Waddinxveen is zojuist brand gesticht bij een zendmast, de politie stelt een onderzoek in. pic.twitter.com/UYd2WXXuwT— 112HM.nl (@112HM) April 24, 2020
Firefighters were dispatched to Bloemendaalseweg in Waddinxveen, after a report of a fire just after midnight on Saturday. First responders arrived at the location and found that a transmission mast was on fire, which firefighters quickly extinguished.
At least a half-dozen uniformed police officers also showed up as part of the investigation.
Many of the arsons are believed to be linked to conspiracy theories about the use of 5G wireless communications. Some of these unproven theories suggest that 5G weakens the respiratory system, making people more susceptible to catching a coronavirus infection.