Arsonist targeting law enforcement patrol cars

Arsonist targeting law enforcement patrol cars

Posted: Updated:
OCALA, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) -

The Marion County Sheriff thinks someone is not happy with law enforcement, targeting his agency by burning patrol cars.   At least 5 vehicles have been destroyed since June.

"It's similar to a 'Peeping Tom' before he actually strikes," Sheriff Chris Blair explains.

The fire starter watches the victims, learned their pattern, and then strikes, leaving behind charred police radios, burned seats and broken windows.

Marion County isn't the only target said lead investigator Lieutenant Brian Dotten.

"We would assume he has a personal grudge, considering one Ocala Police Department vehicle was torched," said Lt. Dotten.  

He added that two personal vehicles belonging to a deputy and an Ocala police officer were also destroyed.  Investigators said it's happening in the overnight hours and on the weekends.

"So while he's out 'protecting and serving,' his personal car is left behind and somebody comes and torches the vehicle," Lt. Dotten said.

Sheriff Blair said the department is short on vehicles already so this makes things worse.

"We're hoping by today putting this information out that it will lead us to a suspect," he said.  "As the sheriff of this county, we do not tolerate people burning cars."

If you have information that could help law enforcement find the person, or people, responsible, contact Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP (7867).


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