Police make arrest in arson-for-hire cold case

Times-Herald Newspapers


DEARBORN — A man arrested in August for bribes connected to the FBI’s investigation of the city’s Building and Safety Department has found himself in more trouble.


Musaid Ahmed Saeed, 57, was held without bond after being arraigned in Branch County District Court Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of arson and conspiracy to commit arson. Saeed already is on probation from the 19th District Court for his involvement in the building and safety scandal.


The latest charges stem from a 2004 arson in Coldwater that led to the death of two men. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who is trying the case, alleges that Saeed hired Hanie Ali Abdallah and Ismael Saleh to burn down an unoccupied commercial property he owned to collect on an insurance policy.


The fire destroyed two buildings — a pizzeria and an Arab-American cultural center — and the men suffered fatal injuries while setting it.


“This was a terrible tragedy rooted in greed,” Cox said in a statement. “My office is committed to holding this defendant responsible for his actions.”


Prosecutors recommended holding Saeed without bond because they believe the properties he owns in Yemen make him a flight risk.


Dearborn police helped bring in the suspect after Coldwater police called to request their assistance. Knowing that Dearborn police had access to Saeed because of his probation status, Coldwater police requested that Dearborn call him into the station until they could arrive to pick him up.


“He had no idea what he was being called in for,” Lt. William Leavens said. “We brought him in, had him sit and wait, and he found out when they showed up.”


Calls to the Attorney General’s Office seeking additional comments and to Coldwater police were not returned as of press time.