SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are investigating whether a car set on fire in the parking lot of a business plaza might be linked to several cars that were set on fire in the same neighborhood, a week before.
Sean Capote found the burned shell of his family’s SUV in the parking lot off Southwest 56th Street, Wednesday morning, after, he said, an arsonist destroyed it early in the middle of the night.
“It makes me angry, just seeing this like this,” Capote said. “It’s sad.”
It’s the fifth vehicle found set on fire in less than a week in the area, and the second vehicle found in the business plaza’s parking lot.
“They got some phone books, and they put it in there, burn it and put some kerosene,” Capote said.
Tattered pages lined the inside of the burned Ford Excursion, Wednesday.
Nearby surveillance cameras captured the person who, business owners said, is behind the arson. The dark-clothed person is seen moving through the parking lot, then the flickers of flames appear in the shadows.
“You’re playing with people’s lives,” Capote said.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to four cars targeted by arsonists, early Thursday morning last week, and now, many in the area worry the arsonist is getting more aggressive.
Surveillance cameras, last week, captured two cars being torched outside a nearby auto shop.
Last Thursday, Jason Dettbarn heard his car on fire from inside his home, while his 2-year-old and 4-year-old slept.
“And my car was twice as worse,” Dettbarn said. “My car was parked right up against my house, so when you have 15-foot flames, my house would’ve been up in seconds.”
Dettbarn, his wife and many in the community hope someone spots a clue in the surveillance footage that stands out and calls police.
“Arson, you’re just thinking, why would someone walk up to my house, in my driveway and go through the work of setting my truck on fire?” Dettbarn added. “Crazy.”
“What’s the next car gonna be? What’s the next structure gonna be?” Dettbarn asked, “and who’s gonna be inside?”
If you have any information on these car fires, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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