Quick-thinking inmates help police nab arson suspect

Lawton_Three early morning fires in Lawton have landed a man in jail, accused of arson.  A house, bales of hay, and even a mattress were targets for the firebug who remains in jail Tuesday evening.  Police say the same man, Lehman Perkaquanard, was arrested just over a week ago for trying to extort money when he found a lost bank bag.  He was out of jail on bond, but now he's back behind bars.

Police say quick-thinking work release inmates en route to their jobs spotted one of the fires and helped officers take Perkaquanard down.  Fire Marshal Mark Mitchell says the fires were set on purpose, and it took a while to extinguish them all.  It was the mattress fire that led to the arrest of the suspect, after some inmates spotted him.  "One of the inmates noticed there was a fire, or appeared to be a fire in a house on 6th and Combs," says Mitchell.

Perkaquanard was spotted attempting to light a grass fire.  The officer escorting the inmates to work ordered the suspect to stop.  Lawton Community Corrections Center PIO Brian Thomas says the suspect threatened the officer, and that's when the inmates sprung into action.  "They grabbed him and forced him to the ground when he tried to leave because he put up a struggle," he says.

When other officers arrived on the , they were surprised to learn who they were taking into custody.  "The individual who was arrested was arrested a few weeks back on an extortion case," says Thomas.

Just over one week ago, the suspect was arrested for trying to extort money from the owner of a bank bag of checks he had found.  Perkaquanard is now back in jail, and Thomas says the actions of his men prove the rehabilitation process works.  "They just reacted to something that was going wrong - they understood that it was wrong as well, and helped out the officer when she needed some assistance," he says.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.

7News Reporter Kenny Scarle