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Police Cruiser Fire Gives New Meaning To Hot Pursuit

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(Source: CBS4) Fort Lauderdale police cruiser fire on Jan. 9, 2012.

(Source: CBS4) Fort Lauderdale police cruiser fire on Jan. 9, 2012.

Joan-Murray-600x450 Joan Murray
CBS4 Reporter Joan Murray Joan Murray is a general assignmen...
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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Fort Lauderdale police officer on a hot pursuit found herself in a truly hot situation early Monday morning when her cruiser caught fire.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, two officers responded to reports of a burglary at Giuliano’s Italian Restaurant in the 1900 block of Cordova Road, about 6:00 a.m. Monday.

“Everything was in shambles,” said co-owner Joe Darmetta.

The robbery was captured on store surveillance. The video showed two men wearing hooded sweatshirts entering the store and walking away with a television and cash register.

“They caused more damage than what they wanted to get,” Darmetta said. “It was a mess, the windows broken. We’re just trying to work here you know.”

Employees at the Publix next door saw the burglary and called police.

Both officers were pursuing the suspect’s vehicle. When one of them attempted to make a U-turn on I-595 near northbound I-95 her cruiser suddenly caught fire.

“She had a little bit of difficulty and somehow and some way her vehicle ignited,” said Detective Deanna Garcia from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. “She’s fine, but the cruise is probably totaled. The entire trunk of her vehicle was burned.”

The thieves ditched their SUV and then one decided to jump into the water near Port Everglades. Border Patrol officers caught, David Sciarretta, 25; the second suspect is still at large.

Darametta was relieved there has been an arrest and his TV and cash register were returned to him.

“That’s great,” Darmetta said. “I’m happy. They did a lot of damage and someone should pay for it.”

Police said it’s possible the vehicle’s low muffler may have ignited the dry grass in the median.

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