RETIRED accountant Nizarmool Maccum-Hosein was burnt to death yesterday in his Couva home in a fire suspected to have been set by a petty thief turned serial arsonist.
The suspect was identified as the one involved in three house fires in Preysal over the last two months. Maccum-Hosein's burnt remains were found in the ground floor garage of his house, underneath the burnt-out flooring of the living room.
The man had no wife or children and lived alone.
Police are searching for a 32-year-old man, of Preysal.
Maccum-Hosein's house at Main Road was seen on fire at around 5 a.m. yesterday. Fire tenders from the Savonetta and Couva fire stations responded, but could not save the building. Pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov did an autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre, St James and concluded that Maccum-Hosein died of smoke inhalation.
Police said a window at the back of the building appeared to have been pried open and the kitchen ransacked, with food items strewn about.
Residents identified a petty thief, recently released from jail after serving a sentence for robberies in the area, as the one setting fires to homes after stealing items.
Police confirmed they were investigating a link between the robberies at the homes and the fires at Mowlah Trace and Powdharrie Road within the last six weeks. Owner of Artee's Puja and Variety Store, Sybil Seepersad, of Mission Road, was lucky her store and home were not set fire after the thief struck last Thursday.
Seepersad said: "When I came by the store around 8 a.m. I saw a spray-can outside the doors which were wide open. I saw the glass cases were ransacked, and a lot of costume jewelry and a perfume set were missing. The next door neighbour said he was missing a pair of shoes and a cutlass.
"My sister, who lives up the road, said she was missing a spray-can and some tools. As he (the thief) goes along from house to house he would pick up things and leave things behind."
Maccum-Hosein's sister, Zalina Ojeer, 50, said some two years ago, a grass-cutting machine was stolen from her brother's house.
"We are hearing that there is a thief in the area that is burning down houses. The police has to put a stop to this before somebody else gets hurt. My brother was a very generous person, he would give anything he had. He didn't deserve to die like this."
Constable Phillip of the Couva Police is investigating.