Investigating car arsons in Tulsa

Tuesday, September 7th 2004, 6:50 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa fire investigators have their hands full trying to solve 22 car arsons that happened over the course of one month.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright has more on what fire official’s suspect is an attempt to cover up a bigger crime.

The remnants of two cars found abandoned and set on fire in a vacant field near 4th and Garnett. The 1989 Chevy truck and 1990 Chevy station wagon had recently been sold to American Auto auction by area car dealers.

Investigators are trying to find out who actually owned the cars when they were torched from the inside. A witness saw two men walk away from the cars right before the fires, but didn't offer much of a description.

These are the last of a string of 22 car fires that did about $60,000 in damage. Tulsa Fire Captain Hubert Rouse: "In some of these cases, we think it's just vandalism, but, others are possibly covering up the stripping of cars, but, some are vandalism so hopefully someone can help us stop this trend."

Tulsa averages around 80 vehicles stolen every week. Some are taken for joyriding, others are re-numbered and re-sold and still others are stripped or chopped up for the parts.

Then, the question for the choppers is what to do with the frame that's left-over. Many times, the answer is arson. Car thieves often think fire will destroy any evidence that could lead police to their door.

Auto theft for just one year, costs this country $8.5-billion. Even if your car wasn't stolen, you're paying the price, in the way of higher insurance. Car insurance rose about 8% last year.

Investigators say a car is stolen every 27 seconds in the US. In Tulsa, the favorite ones are pickups, Olds Cutlass, GMC trucks and Chevy Caprices to name a few.

If you have information about the arsons, call the arson hotline at 596-2776.