News Release

Arson Suspect arrested on multiple counts

Nature of Incident:

Series Of Arsons

Incident #: 

05816-17 05827-17 05828-17 05829-17 05830-17 05836-17

Additional Fires in Berrien County

Date & Time: 

09/29/2017 @ 2247hrs 10/01/2017 @ 2257hrs 10/03/2017 @ 2339hrs 10/09/2017 @ 2058hrs 10/10/2017 @ UNK time 10/18/2017 @ 0128hrs 10/20/2017 @ 0130hrs


41000 block of 66th st Bangor Twp

9000 block of Hager Shore Watervliet Twp

46000 block of 60th st Hartford Twp

70000 block of 62nd st Hartford Twp

86000 block of CR 681 Keeler Twp

65000 77th ave Keeler Twp


Kyle David Norden 40 yr old W/M Hartford area 


On Monday Oct 23rd NORDEN was arraigned on 6 counts arson (3- 2nd degree and 3-3rd degree). bond is $100,000 cash/surety.  


Sheriff Daniel E Abbott reports that over the course of several months there were suspicious fires that the fire chiefs made him aware of.  These fires all seemed suspicious in nature and believed to have had human intervention and deemed as arson. 

A task force was set up by Sheriff Abbott on 10/20/2017 to look further into these fires.  Deputies within the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office along with local Fire Departments began to look more closely at all fires recently fitting a unique profile.  The profile included abandoned residences/detached out buildings specific to the Hartford/Keeler/Bangor area.  On Friday afternoon 10/20/17 a subject came to speak with Sheriff Abbott personally about a possible suspect, the suspect was brought to the sheriff’s office and interviewed by deputies. The suspect was identified as Kyle Norden, and confessed to lighting five fires in Van Buren and two additional in Berrien County.

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Kent County Sheriff’s Office and requested a specially trained K9.  K9 handler Deputy Dekorte and his partner, K9 Ritzey, responded to assist in the investigation.  K9 Ritzey is trained in investigating arsons and the presence of accelerants used in fires.  K9 Ritzey had several positive indications at numerous fire scenes related to these cases. Once the K9 Ritzey indicated to the presence of an accelerants evidence was collected and will be sent to the MSP crime lab for analysis.

Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott stated “I am proud of this organization and the way all the deputies put in the extra effort to quickly bring this investigation to a close. The Sheriff’s office worked well with local fire departments and organization to protect the citizens of Van Buren before someone was hurt.” Sheriff Abbott said,  “I am grateful and humbled by all in the public safety sector that put in an extra effort, from the deputies, fire chiefs, Kent County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dekorte, K9 Ritzey, prosecutors office and many others who brought this to a speedy conclusion.”

Investigating Deputies: 

Deputy Rennhack

K9 Deputy Dekorte and K9 Ritzey from Kent Co So

Sgt Franks

U/S Hunt

Detectives from VBC Follow up Division

Deputy Perkins

Deputy Whitmore

Assisting Agencies: 

Sgt Leroy MSP Fire Investigation Unit

Keeler Fire Dept

Hartford Fire Dept

Bangor Fire Dept

Lawrence Fire Dept

Supervisor Contact:

Anyone with information can contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at (269) 657-3101, Crime Stoppers 1-800-342-7867, Silent Observer (269) 343-2100 or your local Police Department.

Mobile phone users and online users can provide anonymous crime tips to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office by sending a text Tip Soft message by sending a text message to “CRIMES” (274637) with the keyword VBCTIP from a mobile phone.  To submit an online tip, go to and at the top of the homepage follow the directions to submit a tip.

Jim Charon