New Times' exclusive interview with the Preserves arsonist generates passionate response

Douglas Kreie

You must be very proud of your "reporter." He had the chance to get the story and then turn this pyromaniac in, but he only did half the job. Even a priest is obligated to go to the police if there is imminent danger of a parishioner repeating a confessed felony. I hope James Hibberd wakes up each night in a cold sweat for the rest of his life, knowing he could have stopped him, after this psycho eventually causes someone to die.

This is one of the pieces of mail that arrived at New Times in response to the interview.
This is one of the pieces of mail that arrived at New Times in response to the interview.

William Esoru

The recent serial arson fires that have been set in Phoenix's Mountains Preserve are a wake-up call for the city as well as the entire state. People are so fervent to get their piece of the precious land that surrounds this Valley, yet no one seems to have the energy to counteract this need with growth control.

Where can we draw the line? How far will we let the boundaries of this city get? Indeed, desert land is abundant in this region of the country, but some of this land should be reserved and saved to enjoy for its aesthetic value, rather than its potential for residential or commercial building. What's wrong with setting land aside to do absolutely nothing with?

I think that the so-called arsonist should be referred to as an activist. He is doing what no one else has been able to do, and that is to bring attention to the growth problem that is evident here in the Valley. Some people may say that there are better ways for someone to bring attention to an issue such as this, but people have already tried those methods, and nothing is being done. It is the responsibility of Arizona lawmakers and leaders to resolve this issue and bring an end to the need for such action.

I applaud the actions of the serial arsonist and hope that he brings appropriate attention to the growth subject here in Phoenix, as well as all of Arizona. I hope houses continue to be torched until someone with the authority and the courage does something to curb the building and save our desert land.

Matt Hoskins
Litchfield Park

James Hibberd and the Mountains Preserve arsonists don't realize there is no such thing as a criminal act that doesn't harm anybody. We have been perpetual victims of this type of thinking. My husband was badly injured in a hit-and-run accident. Little effort was made to find the driver, because my husband wasn't a child or an important person, and he wasn't killed. We were left with the trauma, the medical bills, and the loss of income.

Next, our luxury car was stolen. Because of its age, it wasn't covered by theft insurance, and it wasn't seriously searched for. Now we have car payments. Recently we became the victims of identity theft. The money we painstakingly saved to buy a new house was stripped from our bank account. The bank and the police weren't interested in investigating the crime. We were treated to a financial nightmare.

These days we live in constant fear and anger because crooks seem to be able to attack us at will and walk away unscathed. So it ticks us off that New Times had a chance to put one such criminal behind bars, and instead let him go free to continue victimizing and traumatizing honest citizens.

Tom and Bobbi Dugan
Queen Creek

I think it is horrific that you interviewed a criminal. Giving publicity to an arsonist only encourages others to use unlawful means to get their point across.

Shame on you. I refuse to read the article. I have a moral standard to uphold, unlike you all at New Times. You are now in the same category as the National Enquirer. Anything for a story. The only story here is you glorifying arsonists.

Our elementary school playground was torched recently. Why don't you interview the "celebrity" who did that as well? How about in front of the kids?

Barb Wang
via Internet

I am so disappointed because of all the information you let out. We do not want these people caught. Yet you gave away everything -- the motive, the number of people involved, even what he told his co-workers the day he went to your interview. Because of you they will go down, way too soon. You had to realize all your details (we heard planes overhead when he phoned) would lead to their demise.

Shame on you for printing that. Desert land will continue to fall on your head. No one I know wants this to cease, but it will because of your thirst for a cover story. Shame, shame on all of you. What separates you from the Republic and those other media whores?

Oh, wait. I know you gave them away. I hope your meetings with the FBI make you feel good, better than our eroding environment. Maybe now you can get that coveted job with the Tribune or the Republic.

Name withheld by request

I just read your article. I am still shaking, so please forgive my typos. For the safety of my family for right now, I do not want to disclose my name or anything that can jeopardize my family. The one who hired the individuals to firebomb is still a free man for the moment, so please forgive me, but my family and I have already come close to death once. I do not want to ever come that close again.

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