'All our baby stuff is gone:' Police investigate arson after 2 vehicles were ignited near 29th and Auer

MILWAUKEE -- Two vehicles were charred early Thursday, May 21 near 29th Street and Auer Street. The owner of one of the vehicles said he believes this was no accident. Neighbors not only awoke in the middle of the night to find their vehicles engulfed in flames, the fire also damaged items meant for the newborn one family will welcome this summer.

"I hear boom, boom, and I hear BOOM," said Courtney Sheriff.

Those sounds sparked chaos at 3 a.m. when Sheriff said she was startled out of bed.

"I look out my back window, and I see my neighbor's truck on fire," said Sheriff.

Courtesy: Benjamin Cochran

She said she ran next door -- where Benjamin Cochran awoke to the blaze.

"Very devastating," said Cochran. "COVID-19 is enough. To have to wake up and see your truck on fire, your neighbor's car on fire and to not have proper transportation to get your children around..."

Parked side by side near the alley, flames tore through both vehicles -- now a total loss.

"Whoever did that, you're not just hurting me, you're hurting the children," said Cochran.

Courtesy: Benjamin Cochran

A father of six, Cochran said it wasn't just his truck that was lost.

"I got a baby on the way, and all our baby stuff is gone," said Cochran.

Baby formula and clothes for the newborn he and his wife are expecting were inside his vehicle, and were destroyed.

"You don't play with nobody life like that," said Sheriff.

Courtesy: Benjamin Cochran

Milwaukee firefighters responded, and Milwaukee police said they're investigating this as an arson.

Benjamin Cochran

"I do have a clue of who did it," said Cochran. "God doesn't bless haters, and you don't mess with God's children."

"I'm lost, I'm scared," said Sheriff. "I don't even want to live here no more."

Still shaken up from the incident Thursday afternoon, these neighbors said they're grateful to have each other.

Courtney Sheriff

"I'm just glad we OK," said Sheriff. "That's all that matters -- these kids right here."

Police said they're seeking the person(s) responsible for the arson. Anyone with information is asked to please contact MPD at 414-935-7360 or Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS.

Meanwhile, Cochran's family set up a GoFundMe.com account to help with expenses in the wake of this crime.