'Bored' Woman Charged With Setting Florida Wildfires

May 16, 2008
A 56-year-old woman was arrested and charged after she told authorities that she intentionally set several fires in Cocoa because she was bored.

COCOA, Fla. --

A 56-year-old woman was arrested and charged after she told authorities that she intentionally set several fires in Cocoa because she was bored, police said.

Margaret Jean Kaderabek, of Cocoa, faces two felony charges of intentional burning of lands.

According to Cocoa police, Kaderabek set a fire near her apartment complex at about 9 p.m. Wednesday before returning to an area where her husband and friends were talking. Kaderabek told them there was a fire and called 911, police said.

Kaderabek's husband extinguished the fire and firefighters saturated the area with fire, police said.

At about 3 a.m. Thursday, a neighbor heard something outside and saw Kaderabek setting at least three fires, Cocoa police said. Kaderabek would light the fire, let it burn and then put it out, police said.

Police were called and Kaderabek was questioned, leading to her arrest.

In an interview with detectives, Kaderabek admitted to setting the small fires, saying she had been watching the news all day about the fires and had set the fires because "she was bored," Cocoa police said.

Investigators said they do not believe Kaderabek had anything to do with the fires that were set in Palm Bay on over the weekend.

Kaderabek will be transported to the Brevard County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Mother-Son Relationship Investigated

Meanwhile, a strained mother-son relationship could be significant in the investigation into a series of arson-sparked wildfires set in Palm Bay on Mother's Day, a police chief said.

"It was Mother's Day that this occurred," Palm Bay Police Chief Bill Berger said. "There's been some tension between (suspect Brian Crowder) and his mother. This could've been significant. We're looking at that aspect of it."

Brian Crowder, 31, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion he lobbed a Molotov cocktail into some woods and was considered a suspect in Sunday's wildfires that destroyed more than 20 homes and caused $10 million in damages.

Crowder said he may have accidentally started the fire with a cigarette and has denied knowledge of earlier fires.

Berger said Crowder is no longer talking or being cooperative with investigators.

Hundreds Of Leads Checked

Meanwhile, four task-force teams are interviewing people with specific cases of arson in their history, Berger said Thursday.

"We have several databases we are running for these folks, both juvenile and adult," Berger said.

Investigators have received more than 200 leads and the investigation continues, according to Berger.

Woman Claims Fire-Starter Knowledge

Also, a woman taken into custody in Cocoa claims she has information about the person who sparks some wildfires in Brevard County, Berger said.

She was taken into custody by one of about 50 or 60 officers in plain clothes roaming the county.

The woman is not considered a suspect.

A task force team has been sent to interview the woman.

Mom's Call Leads To Arrest

Police said a woman and her son are being credited with initiating the police manhunt that led to Crowder's capture.

The woman made the 911 call at 4:18 a.m. Wednesday.

"On the Internet and my 19-year-old son was getting ready to take the trash out," a caller told a 911 dispatcher. "He says he saw a black car go down our street or something and throw something in the woods, catching the woods on fire by our house."

"Your son saw this?" a 911 dispatcher said.

"I see it. I see it. You see orange right here in the middle. We're on Alvarado Avenue," the woman said.

After the call, Good Samaritan Matt Samaco said he also spotted the man police identified as Crowder starting a fire near his property.

"I saw (the man) and he was squatted down by the sign and he had a long wire and was trying to light a fire," Samaco said. "That's when I said, 'Hey, S.O.B.' He then got up and hauled butt. I kicked my gate open and chased him up through his woods."

Police with K-9s eventually captured Crowder near Southwest Middle School, located at 451 Eldron Blvd. S.E.

Crowder was transported to the Brevard County Jail Thursday where he talked to Local 6.

"I believe I accidentally may have, may have started (it) by tossing a cigarette out the door," Crowder said.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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