Homeowner helps police identify man accused of firebombing North Philadelphia rowhome

Kyle Halls, 35, is accused of firebombing a off-campus rowhome near Temple.

A homeowner who lives at a rowhome near Temple's campus that was recently firebombed used home surveillance to help police track down a suspect who is now in custody, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Kyle Halls, 35, smashed the front window of a property on 2000 block of Cleveland Street around 5:30 a.m. Nov. 15 and tossed a flaming bottle containing gasoline into the home. 

According to court documents, a recent Temple graduate who lives at the home and leases rooms to three current students woke up to the glass breaking and came downstairs to see the front window's curtains on fire. 

Investigators say the property owner tried to extinguish the flames but was unsuccessful and alerted the other residents to exit the home safely. No injuries were reported and the fire was contained.

Surveillance video from the property and neighboring homes allegedly shows the suspect, wearing camouflage cargo pants pockets, exit the nextdoor property and carry out the firebombing.

A K9 unit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) found an "ignitable liquid" sample in the living room that later tested positive for gasoline, according to investigators.

Court documents say the owner of the home and another resident reviewed surveillance video from days before the incident that allegedly shows the suspect exiting the nextdoor property and leaving a cardboard box among a pile of trash at the intersection of North Cleveland and West Norris streets.

While retrieving the box from the street corner, the two residents found pieces of mail with Halls' name and mailing address, which investigators say is several blocks from Cleveland Street in North Philadelphia. They handed over surveillance video, the box and the pieces of mail to investigators, according to an affidavit. 

Court documents show the suspect, believed to be Kyle Halls, wearing the same camouflage-style cargo pants in two different incidents. 

Investigators were later contacted by a Temple University Police Detective, who noticed that the firebombing suspect was wearing similar clothes to a man accused of smashing the rear window of a vehicle on Carlisle Street days before the arson. 

The suspect was identified by Temple Police as Kyle Halls, whose last known address was the North Philadelphia property listed on the pieces of mail found on the street corner. Investigators say the suspect in both incidents walked with a "distinct gait" and "occasional limp," that Halls' mother told police was due to a metal rod in his knee.

Halls was arrested on Thursday morning, but the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office has not reported charges. 

"We are immensely grateful for the diligent and persistent efforts of our TUPD detectives and police officers and the collaboration and teamwork with Philadelphia police and ATF. Their tireless efforts truly made all the difference," a statement from Temple read.