Thomas Manes

Thomas Manes (Photo: Royal Oak Police)

Troy Man Arrested, Charged In Series Of Royal Oak Arson Fires

June 07, 2019 - 12:48 pm

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) - A Troy man has been arrested and charged, suspected in as many as a dozen arson fires in Royal Oak over several years. 

Since 2015, Royal Oak police say the city has experienced a series of arson fires, mostly car fires, within a small radius of one another in a northeastern section of the city.

Starting in November 2015, three suspicious vehicle fires were reported along with two others in December 2015. During that time, police said, InStyle Cabinets on Rochester Road was also severely damaged by fire, investigators finding evidence it was related to break-in and theft of electronics and a gun. A family sleeping in an attached business next to the fire escaped without injury. 

During the summer of 2018, police said there were three more reported vehicle fires similar to the fires in 2015. 

Finally, early in the morning of June 2 of this year, Royal Oak police and firefighters responded to a 911 call of a shed and garage on fire behind a home in the 700 block of Whitcomb. The fire was extinguished, but a small shed was destroyed, and the garage suffered significant damage. Detectives and fire investigators responded to the scene due to the suspicious nature of the fire. No injuries were reported.

Following further investigation, 33-year-old Thomas Elliot Manes --  identified as a former resident of Royal Oak -- was arrested Tuesday at his apartment in Troy. 

“We are extremely pleased to finally bring this crime spree to an end. The midnight shift officers and investigators put countless hours into finding the person responsible. The police department utilized cutting edge technology to investigate this case, but in the end, it was solved with good old fashion police work. I can’t speak highly enough of the efforts of our officers and detectives.” Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said, in a statement. 

Police have not disclosed a possible motive. 

Manes was arraigned in 44th District Court Friday on the following charges: 

  • Two counts of 2nd Degree Arson (Dwelling), a felony which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison
  • Six counts of 3rd Degree Arson (Personal Property over $20,000), a felony which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison
  • Three counts of 4th Degree Arson (Personal Property $1,000 to $20,000), a felony which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison
  • Breaking & Entering a Building with Intent, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison
  • Larceny of a Firearm, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison
  • Felony Firearm, which carries a penalty of 2 years in prison

Officials say Manes’ criminal history includes convictions for uttering and publishing, auto theft and disorderly conduct.

He remains held on a $250,000 cash/surety bond, no 10%, awaiting his next court appearance scheduled for June 18.