Ithaca (WSYR-TV) – It’s been three years and investigators in Tompkins County are still looking for help in solving a crime that hit home for the Ithaca Police Department.
Sgt. Bryan Bangs still hasn’t returned to the force as police look for the person or people who they believe intentionally burned down his house in the middle of the night while he slept.
Less than two weeks before his house was burned down, Bangs was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of a drug suspect in Ithaca.
While they have not established an official correlation between the shooting death and the fire, investigators are confident they are connected.
"We need to find out who did this and we need to hold them accountable. It’s something that shook all of us to the core, those of us in the Police Department, those of us in the Ithaca community and certainly Bryan's family,” said Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson, Bangs’ friend.
Williamson says Bangs is still recovering from the events of 2010.
"Bryan is literally one of the nicest guys in America. He would help anybody out, he would give the shirt off his back for anybody and he's very emotionally strong, but Bryan's human and his house was burned to the ground and that still weighs on his mind,” Williamson said.
Bangs doesn't live on Etna Road any longer, Williamson says he and his family have moved, built a more secure house in a safer location and probably never could have returned after what happened to him there.
“Somebody took away the innocence of the Bangs family, it gives me chills,” Williamson said. “We're not going to rest, we're not going to rest until we get some closure and that closure is going to come in the form of an arrest for anybody responsible for burning Bryan's house to the ground."
A reward of $20,000 has been promised for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the arson.
The Ithaca Police Department and the Police Benevolent Association contributed $10,000. The remainder was contributed by an anonymous donor.
Anyone with information can contact the authorities either by phone or online:
- Police Dispatch: (607) 272-3245
- Police Administration: (607) 272-9973
- Anonymous Tip via phone: (607) 697-0333
- Anonymous Tip via email