A white C4 Corvette coupe has become the latest victim in a string of arsons in the Hilliard, Florida area. The Corvette is a total loss after it was set ablaze in the owner’s driveway on Wednesday night.
Robert Thrift says he heard his car alarm going off and ran outside to investigate about 1 a.m. “I thought somebody was trying to steal my car or something,” he told WJXT-TV reporter Jim Piggott. “I came out, and the hood was all on fire.”
By the time the fire was extinguished, the interior was a burned-out mess, and many of the body panels had melted away.
Thrift is just the latest in a string of victims in the Hilliard area as he became the 11th person hit by whoever is setting the fires since February.
Two nights earlier, Kristin Buchanan and her husband were asleep in their home when they woke up after hearing a noise outside.
“My husband came out with a spotlight to look for somebody, and he noticed there was a fire,” Kristin said. “And then they banged on the back door I guess to warn us there was a fire.”
Kristin says they didn’t see anybody, but the knock by the apparent arsonist fit the M.O. of at least one of the other fires. “Police reports show they knocked on doors in another case,” Piggott said. “I really just think it’s a bunch of teenagers vandalizing,” Kristin said.
Sheriff Bill Leeper of Nassau County says his department is looking into all the cases, working with the state fire marshal’s office, “running down leads to try and find this individual or individuals and hopefully we’ll make an arrest soon.”
The state fire marshal’s office is still offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the cases. You can also call the sheriff’s office to give tips.
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