While several North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers in Iredell county were on their break inside a 7-Eleven in Statesville, a local man was busy setting four of their patrol cars on fire, according to law enforcement officials.
The troopers took their break in the 7-Eleven at approximately 9:50 p.m. on Monday, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, when a passerby alerted them to the fires. This passerby also verbally identified the suspect, the Charlotte Observer reports.
When the witness told the troopers, NCSHP first sergeant Daniel Hall says they ran outside to spring into action.
“They got in the trunk to get the fire extinguishers and thank goodness they extinguished the fire before the cars were totally destroyed,” Sgt. Hall told Fox 46.
Sergeant Hall says the fire caused $20,000 worth of damage in total to four Dodge Chargers. At least one car is completely undrivable.
One of the troopers recognized the suspect, who was still in the immediate area with a gas can, and was later identified as Daniel Francis Zelo, 49, of Statesville, and placed him in custody, according to the release.
Jail records show Zelo is in the Iredell County Detention Center charged with four counts of burning personal property held on a $100,000 bond, Fox46 reports.