Man Caught on Camera Setting Patrol Car on Fire Outside Hawthorne Police Station

The Ford Explorer Police Interceptor was declared a total loss.

Hawthorne police arrested a man suspected of setting a police car on fire in front of the station in an act caught on camera, the department announced Thursday.

Officers realized an unoccupied patrol vehicle parked in front of the police department had been engulfed in flames at about 12:15 a.m. Surveillance footage taken of the incident depicts a man dousing the SUV with an "unknown accelerant" and lighting it on fire.

The suspect, 24-year-old Elmer Maldonado of Hawthorne, was arrested without incident nearby, on the same block as the arson.

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After the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire, the vehicle, a Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, was declared a total loss. Maldonado is currently in custody on suspicion of arson.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Hawthorne Police Department Detective Bureau at (310) 349-2820.

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