Man suspected in mall fire has history of crimes against people from Middle East

Image 1 of 3

A 35-year-old Dearborn Heights man is facing federal charges after being accused of setting this Inkster strip mall on fire.

A major break in the case led police to suspect Nicholas Diedo.

Investigators say this surveillance video from last month's fire shows an individual attempting to throw bricks through a window before he removes a flare from his sock to ignite the fire.

As investigators looked closely at the video they say they realized this man could be the same person seen setting a fire at the strip mall in April of last year.

"The original report that he had, we didn't have a whole lot of information, there was no significant damage done to the structure," said Lt. Jeffrey Smith, Inkster police. "It went dormant until (this incident)."

ATF federal investigators drew more links in the investigation and realized their suspect was involved in other arsons. According to the criminal complaint back in 2017, this same man was suspected by Dearborn Heights police of being involved with two vehicle fires a mile away from his home.

He was also arrested for crimes against people from the Middle East, including allegedly setting his neighbor's BMW on fire according to a federal criminal complaint.

But when investigators searched Diedo's home they found evidence linking him to the strip mall fires. According to the criminal complaint, a brick was found in the basement with a rope tied around it.
"I can't get into specifics exactly but I can tell you that what was found in his house does (connect) him to both incidents in Inkster," Smith said. "The one in 2018 and the more recent one."

Police won't reveal the suspect's whereabouts but they do say they know where he is.

"I can't comment on where he's at right now he's not in police custody, however we do know where he is at," Smith said. "Depending on these other arsons he could be on the hook for those as well."