Neighbors, PBSO join forces after 'targeted attacks'

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A neighborhood authorities say was targeted by arsonists is coming together with law enforcement to make their home safer. The Forest Condominium Association in suburban West Palm Beach says vandalism, fires and other recent crimes have residents on edge and hoping the dangers have finally passed.

Lois Smith moved to the condominium complex ten years ago because it was quiet, peaceful and safe. Now, she says, it does not feel the same. "I'm a single mom and my son is 20 years old and he's trying to be the man of the house," said Smith.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's office says one of Smith's neighbors in the 5300 block of Bosque Lane was a target more than once. Investigators said that one of the units and its occupants were targeted a total of five times between March 2 and April 25. "They were looking for certain specific individuals and everything happened around one particular residence," said Capt. John Prieschl after a meeting between law enforcement and residents Thursday night.

Deputies say the attacks in the neighborhood escalated quickly. The first involved a truck outside an apartment being vandalized. At a later date, they say, the truck was set on fire. In late April, they say more than one fire was intentionally set. The final blaze could have been deadly.

PBSO is trying to reassure residents at the complex that since the people believed to be targets have moved away, the danger has subsided as well. Authorities are not releasing many details about exactly who was targeted or about a possible motive. "I can assure you that we are devoting a lot of resources to this investigation," said Capt. Prieschl.

No arrests have been made in connection with the incidents, but investigators are in contact with the former occupants of the apartment in question. Authorities are confident they will find those responsible, but tell residents that it could be many months before an arrest takes place.

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