New $25,000 reward for information on Heidelberg Project arsons

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A private donor is now raising the reward to find who's responsible for the recent arsons at various homes at Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project on Detroit's east side.

Supporters of the Heidelberg Project say the private donor is offering $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for these fires.

This is in addition to the $5,000 reward that's being offered by the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee.

While rumors are swirling about possible motives that are driving the arsonist, the Heidelberg Project is still controversial with many seeing it as art and others seeing it as an eyesore.

Trudy Martincic and her husband, Frank, frequently visit the Heidelberg Project and think it is a positive attraction in Detroit.

The Martincics say they wouldn't mind Guyton's art project being next to their home in Eastpointe.

But one woman who lives close to the Heidelberg Project doesn't care for any part of it. She tells 7 Action News, "If they truly think it's art, then they should take it where they live."

Guyton declined to be interviewed, telling Action News that he's been "told by ATF and legal counsel to be quiet."

A spokesman for ATF says they have not told the artist to avoid talking about the fires.

Investigators are hoping the reward money will move someone to help them catch whoever is behind the arsons before a resident or firefighter is injured.

Anyone with information on the fires is urged to call 1(888)ATF-FIRE or arson investigators with the Detroit Fire Department at (313)596-2940.

Digital Planet, a Livonia-based technology consulting company, expects to be installing a security camera near the remaining structures by the end of next week. Devin Mudd, the company's president, says they are fans of the Heidelberg Project and are donating the surveillance equipment that will have a live feed for monitoring.

According to a Facebook page for "The Heidelberg Project", the most recent fire was set " only moments before our night ly patrol was set to arrive for the evening."

The posting on Facebook goes on to say, "We're adapting and regrouping, now. Believe it or not, we ARE doing everything we can in complete cooperation with the ATF. We won't stop! Will you stand with us?"

Visitors to the page are then guided to a website titled "Art from the Ashes: Securing a Legacy" where as of early Wednesday evening $39,503 in donations have been raised since November 19. The website indicates the goal of $50,000 is to provide security for The Heidelberg Project.


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