Arsonist torches six cars in Chandler, Mesa; targets several more


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Gibby Parra

Posted on September 13, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 13 at 10:48 AM

Map: Vehicle fires

View larger map

CHANDLER and MESA, Ariz. -- Police are searching for the person who torched at least six cars and tried to light up several more in the East Valley early Thursday morning.

The first call came in just before 2 a.m. When fire crews arrived in the area of Gilbert and Ocotillo roads (northwest of Lindsay and Chandler Heights roads), they saw a vehicle fully engulfed in flames.

Two more car fire calls came in at about 2:15 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

Those scenes were just a mile apart in the area of Alma School and Elliot roads -- about a 20-minute drive, 11 or so miles, from the site of the first fire.

A fourth vehicle was burned just a few blocks away from Alma School and Elliot roads.

Mesa police Sgt. Tony Landato says two vehicle fires were reported in his city in the area of Westwood and 10th Street, several miles north of Chandler, at about 2:45 a.m.

"We do suspect these are arson cases and possibly related to the incidents in Chandler, based simply on the similarity and timing of events," he said in an email to media outlets.

While no injuries were reported, six vehicles -- the four in Chandler and two in Mesa -- were destroyed.

Sgt. Joe Favazzo of the Chandler Police Department said investigators are hoping the cars that were targeted but not burned will provide some evidence.

"This is a very dangerous situation, as car fires can be very unstable and unpredictable," Favazzo said in an early morning news release. "We are encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity, persons or vehicles in your neighborhood."

If you know anything about the vehicle fires, call Chandler police at 480-782-4130.

At this point, police do not have any suspect information.

"We really need your help on this one," Favazzo said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.