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Warrant: Cary fire suspect autographed culvert

Posted April 4, 2013

Tristan Zammit
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— Police were able to identify a Cary teen as a suspect after a culvert under Cary Parkway was set ablaze last month because he left his name behind and then bragged about it to a friend, according to a search warrant released Wednesday.

Tristan Zammit, of Brownfield Drive in Cary, is charged with intentionally setting fire to grass, brush lands or woodlands.

Cary police said in an application for a search warrant to obtain Zammit's cellphone and iPod Touch that firefighters found the name "Tristan" written in tar on the concrete face of the culvert. The tar had been melted off a coating used to protect the inside of the culvert from corrosion, according to the application.

Firefighters told police that the process of melting the tar could have sparked the March 21 fire.

The day after the fire, Cary Crime Stoppers received a tip that Zammit had sent a friend a text message asking the friend to go see what Zammit had done to the culvert, the search warrant application states.

Zammit, a Cary High School student, later confessed to setting the fire, police said.

Westbound lanes of Cary Parkway remain closed between Lake Pine Drive and Two Creeks Road while North Carolina Department of Transportation crews repair the damaged culvert.


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  • ICTrue Apr 11, 2013

    "In some ways I feel sorry for this teen. It sounds like he isn't getting the guidance and attention at home. Not trying to automatically blame the parents, as I'm also a parent, but know what it takes to raise kids." missparrothead

    You can't blame the parents, kids do stupid things sometimes. At least he owned up to it and he will probably be paying for it for a long time. Give the kid some credit for that.

  • Tritysu Apr 10, 2013

    Miss parrot, wow, do you have teens? I know for a fact these are excellent parents who have always imposed consequences for their children's actions. And have never been negligent parents so easy and quick to blame the parents.

  • me2you Apr 10, 2013

    I had to take the detour around this the other day. Almost made me late for Drs appt. Way to go kid! grrr

  • CrazyFoxofCary Apr 9, 2013

    Some kids do bad things despite good parenting. - LightFoot 3

    I agree, but this isn't just a bad thing, but a dumb thing too... Graffiti with you own name? Oh and he's lucky the thing didn't collapse with him in it. I agree with other posts he should be responsible to pay for at least some of the damage

  • johnfarsty Apr 8, 2013

    Even the police know its accidental, all the evidence they showed him matches what tristan confessed! accidental!

  • johnfarsty Apr 8, 2013

    I know tristan personally, he didnt go out that day to cause harm. it was an accident that got out of his control so he fled. he has admitted he was a coward for running. and the name the was written was from 2010, when he was 13 with friends. He is a good kid, just trying to do good in his life. everyone makes mistakes in life.

  • Lightfoot3 Apr 8, 2013

    “Yes a costly mistake but he will not have to pay, nor should his parents.” – ncguy

    I’m not sure I’d consider intentional arson a “mistake”, but when my kid accidentally knocked over a street sign we got the bill from DOT.

    “Easy to blame the parents with out knowing the full story.” – Tritysu

    I agree. Some kids do bad things despite good parenting.

  • NotFromHere Apr 5, 2013

    "Yes a costly mistake but he will not have to pay, nor should his parents." - ncguy

    ncguy, it is people like you that perpetuate this kind of crime. Sure, support them for not taking responsibility for their actions. Blame it on someone else. Or just let the stupid tax payers pay for it.

  • Tritysu Apr 5, 2013

    Oops meant sure not sore!!

  • Trouble65 Apr 5, 2013

    Was the kid bragging or telling a friend cause he was scared. Hmmmmmmm.