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UMD Student Devin Kruljac helps DPS' Detective Belliveau solve the arson crimes on campus.  Mr. Kruljac came forward with an eye witness account that led to an arrest and conviction!  Thank you Devin!

   MSP Reward Ceremony  
From left to right are:  Assistant Fire Chief Borges of the Dartmouth Fire Dept, UMD student Devin Kruljac, Capt. Tim Sheehan and Detective Ernie Belliveau of the UMD Police Dept.

“I’m humbled. I’ve never been called a hero before. I’m just someone who needed to use the bathroom,” the 24-year-old UMD student from Hyannis said. “I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association presented him with a check after his testimony in New Bedford District Court helped convict Joseph Inacio, 20, of setting a fire in a bathroom in the Liberal Arts Building on Nov. 21, 2010.

Judge Robert Welsh III found Inacio, a volunteer firefighter with Dartmouth Fire District 3, with setting a fire to a paper dispenser. The fire damaged a section of the ceiling, according to police reports.

The award ceremony was held at the state police barracks on Faunce Corner Road.

Kauljac testified at the trial about his observations and description of the suspect.

“It was very nerve wracking for me. It was my first time doing something like that,” he said.

But he said the cross-exam by defense lawyers was an experience he doesn’t want to relive.

“Oh my goodness! They beat you in the ground,” he said, saying how the lawyers repeatedly questioned him about his observations and his motive for testifying.

He said he’s glad he learned about the reward after he provided investigators with a composite of the suspect.

Ronald J. Meehan, program consultant for the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association’s Arson Watch Reward Program, said a five-member committee makes the award determinations, based on the amount of information and its value to investigators.

He said they have made 322 awards between 1982 and now, totaling $351,850.

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan congratulated Kauljac, explaining arson is difficult to prove and is often based on circumstantial evidence. “This man really did the right thing,” he said.

Kauljac, a philosophy major who is in last year at UMD and volunteers in New Bedford with Samaritans, said he plans to use most of the money for school and to get a head start on his plans to go to graduate school for his master’s degree in social work.
“I’m just going to save as much of it as I can,” he said.


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