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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Authorities are searching for an arsonist who torched two police cars within a block of each other in northeast Miami-Dade.
Miami-Dade Police on Friday afternoon released new cell phone video obtained from a neighbor that shows a Miami-Dade Police car engulfed in flames.
The President of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association (P.B.A.) told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he is alarmed by the incidents.
Hallandale Beach Police officer Sunny Parker said he thinks this was a random act against both him and the Miami-Dade Police officer. It happened as they were sleeping.
“It’s nerve wracking,” said Parker.“It sure is messed up.”
He believes the arsonist did not know him.
“I think it’s random, that I was not targeted,” said Parker.
So far investigators have no leads.
Federal and local investigators were sifting and scraping through melted metal and scorched remains in an attempt to collect evidence and searching for traces of accelerate.
Parker said he and his family were asleep in their home when he was awoken by popping noises that’s when he noticed his cruiser was up in flames.
“Around 5:30ish I heard loud bang and saw through the blinds the car engulfed in flames,” said Officer Parker. “I just heard a loud pop. There was a lot of smoke and fire.”
Parker’s car was also gutted.
Blocks away, a Miami-Dade Police cruiser was also set on fire.
Investigators said both cars were torched by the same person or people.
“This is an intentional act against these police officers but also an intentional act against this community,” said Lt. John Jenkins with Miami-Dade Police Department. “People live in this community they have families that live in these residence. Neighbors are also in the line of fire these cars could have easily exploded possibly causing other damage to the residence.”
Fortunately nobody was injured but police said they have a serious issue on their hands.
“Seems like the police officers are being targeted especially in our community,” said Lt. Jenkins.
Somebody recently shot up two other parked Miami-Dade patrol cars overnight in South Dade. Investigators don’t know if the incidents are related to the torched cars, but they said they are committed to catching the people behind the string of crimes.
Rivera is very concerned..
“The most alarming thing for us is that this is happening at officers’ homes. This is the third or fourth time that we’ve seen this happen. Now it’s getting much closer to the home, the families and that is not acceptable,” said Rivera. “There is no doubt there’s an attack, an affront across America and ambushes against law enforcement officers so it is a very dangerous time for police officers.”
Investigators were working to figure out what was used to start the fire. Evidence has been collected and police are looking for surveillance video.
Rivera and detectives say they’re committed to finding the people targeting police.
“It’s not going to be tolerated,” said Lt. Jenkins.
Rivera told D’Oench, “We always need the public’s help. We need the public to get involved and help. At the end of the day they are our guardians and so let’s please help the guardians.”
Police have been scouring the neighborhood looking for additional surveillance tape or cell phone video that might show the suspect.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.