VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — An arsonist is on the loose in Virginia Beach. Investigators need your help to catch the suspect.

What started with a few dumpster fires within a quarter mile of each other turned into an attempt to light a building at the Haven Apartments on fire. Investigators want to put a stop to the problem before it gets worse.

“It’s concerning to us when we see somebody graduate from dumpsters to buildings,” said Steve Huey, a fire investigator with the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

A video captured by surveillance Sept. 25 shows a suspect in Virginia Beach pouring gasoline in a mailbox and then lighting the mailbox on fire. This happened at 1870 Enterprise Court.

Fortunately, the fire put itself out. The suspect, Huey said, also tried lighting the opposite side of the building on fire. That part was not captured on video.

“Luckily, the way he did it did not go well,” Huey told 10 On Your Side. “He got a bit of a flash fire. It didn’t do any damage and it didn’t take a hold. We’re pretty sure he is on foot and he lives somewhere close by. We’re hoping someone in the neighborhood will recognize him.”

It happened late at night and there were no witnesses until the next morning, when a maintenance crew smelled gasoline and called for help. Huey responded and saw burn marks on the building, eventually coming across the surveillance video.

“In an apartment building that time of night, it could have been disastrous,” Huey said.

Huey asked that those who watch the video take a good look.

“If you suspect someone or you recognize movements, you recognize clothing, you know a suspicious guy in your neighborhood or anybody that’s bragged about it, all that kind of stuff if very important to us right now,” Huey said.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has information about this incident should contact the Virginia Beach Fire Department at 757-385-4228 or submit a tip at