Arsonist Torches N.C. Police Undercover Vehicle

March 21, 2013
A Dodge Caravan, used by undercover Wilmington police, was burned beyond recognition in a fire that investigators say was set.

March 21--Investigators believe that an undercover Wilmington Police Department minivan torched beyond recognition early Sunday was the work of an arsonist.

The vehicle, a 2005 Silver Dodge Caravan, was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly before 4 a.m. at the scene in the parking lot of the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center at 2222 S. College Road, officials said.

Police spokeswoman Lucy Crockett said the minivan had been parked in that lot, across the street from the police department's Southeast Patrol Division, so officers could keep an eye on it while masking its true purpose as an undercover vehicle.

The Southeast Patrol Division headquarters once housed now former members of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit, a squad under investigation for possible crimes committed during a prostitution sting last year. Officials made no immediate connection between the fire and the botched sting.

Sammy Flowers, battalion chief with the Wilmington Fire Department, told local media Wednesday afternoon that investigators had determined the fire was intentionally set, and that the fire and police departments had opened a joint investigation.

Copyright 2013 - Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.

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