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Police make arson arrest Add to ...

Two days after a blaze tore through a Mississauga townhouse development last Monday, leaving ashes and $10-million in damage in its smoky wake, there was no trace of a suspect.

But in the days that followed, one emerged as a grainy figure on a surveillance video, his body concealed by a black hood and jacket.

On Saturday morning, he materialized as a 19-year-old high school student from Etobicoke.

Peel Regional Police arrested Adam Zyskowski at his parents' home in Etobicoke Saturday morning and charged him with two counts of arson and one count of wearing a disguise. The second arson charge is connected to another fire that was set at the same townhouse complex in February.

The teen, dressed in a army-print jacket, lowered his head - covered in short, dark hair - as he rode in the back seat of an unmarked police car yesterday morning, en route to a remand hearing in Brampton.

"He was known to police, for sure," said Toronto police Sergeant John Walker from 22 Division in Etobicoke, where Mr. Zyskowski resides.

Just a few days before his arrest, Toronto police received a complaint from a girl in Etobicoke, who said Mr. Zyskowski had sent her a message on the Internet, threatening to hurt her. Sgt. Walker said the threat was somehow connected to Mr. Zyskowski's alleged involvement in the arsons.

He said a detective at 22 Division is considering opening up unsolved arson files to see if Mr. Zyskowski may have been involved in any of them.

Melissa Lalic, friends with Mr. Zyskowski in middle school, said they grew apart when they started high school at Silverthorn Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke. He had a few close friends, she said, but was rarely seen at parties.

Mr. Zyskowski's best friend, Chris Tanner, said he could never imagine Mr. Zyskowski - "a completely normal guy" - setting the townhouse complex aflame.

"If it turns out he did do this, I think what he needs is psychiatric help, not time in a cage," Mr. Tanner said. "I think he's the kind of person that doesn't deserve this. He's my best friend. He just got his first serious relationship and he deserves a bright future if they'll give it to him."

Last night, Peel Regional Police were still working with the Ontario Fire Marshal's office to determine exactly how last Monday night's fire was set. On Saturday, they obtained a warrant to search Mr. Zyskowski's home, seizing various items.

Investigators are still searching for the driver of an ice cream truck spotted at the site of Monday night's blaze just before the fire was set.

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