Video Shows Man Lighting Patrol SUV on Fire Near Hawthorne Police Station

Local News

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A man was arrested Thursday after security video captured him setting on fire a Hawthorne patrol SUV parked near the police station, officials said.

Elmer Maldonado appears in a booking photo released by Hawthorne police on Dec. 5, 2019.
Elmer Maldonado appears in a booking photo released by Hawthorne police on Dec. 5, 2019.

Elmer Maldonado, a 24-year-old Hawthorne resident, was detained without incident on suspicion of arson, according to police.

Officers first noticed a suspicious person apparently loitering directly in front of the Hawthorne police station through surveillance monitors, according to the Hawthorne Police Department.

The officers then noticed an unoccupied Ford Explorer Police Interceptor nearby, fully engulfed in flames, the Police Department said.

Police detained Maldonaldo, and a review of security footage confirmed that he doused the vehicle with an undetermined accelerant and set it ablaze, officials said.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded to the scene and put out the flames, but the SUV was completely destroyed.

Police continue to investigate the incident and asked anyone with information to call detectives at 310-349-2820.

  • Hawthorne police released this photo of a patrol SUV completely destroyed after a person set it on fire on Dec. 5, 2019.
  • Hawthorne police released this photo of a patrol SUV completely destroyed after a person set it on fire on Dec. 5, 2019.

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