Arsonist torches 15 cars on Manhattan block

September 12, 2012 2:41:18 PM PDT
Police are on the hunt for an arsonist in Harlem who torched more than a dozen cars overnight Tuesday.

Authorities believe the acts are random, but they fear he could strike again.

Now, police have a new clue in their search. They have released surveillance photo of the suspect walking along Bradhurst Avenue around 2:45 a.m.

In total, 15 cars were torched and gutted in upper Manhattan. Cell phone video shows one of the vehicles as it burned, the 2004 Toyota Sienna a searing mass of flames.

It was nothing more than a total loss.

"This don't make no sense," owner Pamela Crowell said. "It hurts. It really really hurts."

The arson attacks targeted car owners in northern Harlem and the Sugar Hill neighborhood, from Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard to Bradhurst Avenue to Edgecomb.

Police say it appears to be the work of the man caught on surveillance video, who had plastic bags over his hands to hide his fingerprints.

Arson investigators say he put paper under each car, and then set it on fire. It was simple, cheap and enough to destroy vehicle after vehicle.

Danielle Peaker's 2004 Chrysler was parked along 151st Street, but it really sat in a far more valuable place in her heart. When it burned, so did memories.

"That car was a sentimental value to me," she said. "My mother bought me that car right before she passed. This is the car I was passing on to my son. So they took away a lot from me."

Police don't have a very clear description of the person of interest. But they are still hopeful someone will come forward with information by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.


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