An Arsonist Left a Fake-Out Sudoku Clue for NYPD Fire Investigators

New York cops are chasing a firebug ninja in Queens, like something out of a comic book. 

by Sam Blum
Pedro Vera/Flickr Creative Commons

In a charade befitting an episode of Law and Order, or some Frank Miller-inspired underworld, New York City investigators are studying a trail of riddles, which are meant to indicate possible clues as to the culprit of various arsons in Queens.

“Decode this message to find out the person who caused the fire,” read a note stuck beneath the windshield wiper of a car parked near 108-47 67th Drive, which crumbled beneath flames in the neighborhood of Forrest Hills on November 25.

Investigators who cracked the Sodoku code found that it led to the residence of a Queens resident … who had nothing to do with a string of suspicious fires that have plagued the quiet neighborhood in the past month.

NYPD’s Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that the initial suspect, framed by the Sudoku note, was probably innocent, and that authorities “don’t believe he is involved in the fire at all.”

Surveillance footage captured around forest hills allegedly shows a man “dressed like a ninja,” entering a construction area that was later the site of a massive blaze, on November 17. That’s currently about the strongest lead authorities have.

Of the seven fires that engulfed buildings throughout the month of November, four have been confirmed as arsons. All have taken place at abandoned buildings, some of which were on the cusp of renovation.

According to local news site DNAinfo, 13 local residents have been displaced due to the fires.