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July 19, 2010

PHOENIX – A couple of arsonists may have picked the wrong shed to set on fire.

The arsonists hit the Arizona Grand Resort at around 4 a.m. on July 13, 2010, according to Phoenix Police Sergeant Darren Burch.

Burch says the two men set fire to a storage shed that was being used by Swank Audio Visuals.

“A lot of paperwork, as well as electrical equipment and lights and such, was destroyed in the fire, as well as the structure itself,” Burch said.

Once they set the blaze, they didn’t bother sticking around to watch it burn down the resort.

“There’s no other damage done to the facility,” Burch said. “There was no other known vandalism, no other crime, other than this one, kind of stand-alone structure was set on fire.”

There was something special about this particular storage shed though.

“What’s significant about this structure is that it housed a lot of equipment that was going to be used for the 100 Club gala coming up this September,” Burch said.

And who puts together that gala? A man by the name of Jack Ballentine.

“I’m the director of the fire investigations unit for the Phoenix Fire Department and it’s my investigators that were assigned the investigation of the arson that occurred at the Arizona Grand property,” Ballentine said.

Ballentine puts a lot of time and effort into the annual Jason Schecterly Scholarship Ball.

“What that program is for is providing scholarships to children and family members of public safety – fire, police, probation,” Ballentine said. “Swank is the in-house audio video specialist over there at the Arizona Grand and they stepped up right away and were willing to provide us anything for our audio video needs at an extremely discounted price.”

Police are having trouble coming up with the motive the arsonists may have had.

“It’s hard to figure out why they set this fire,” Burch said. “There was no other vandalism on the property, no other items that were disturbed or destroyed.”

Check out the surveillance video and contact Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 800-343-TIPS if you have any information related to this case.