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16 vehicles torched in Prince George's County

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Local,Crime,Ben Giles

Vehicles across Prince George's County are being torched in the middle of the night in a series of arson cases over the past two weeks.

Sixteen vehicles have been burned and vandalized since Oct. 24, when four cars were lit up in less than three hours -- three of the cars were within blocks of one another in Upper Marlboro, according to Prince George's County fire investigators.

Upper Marlboro resident Jannifer Jenkins was driving out of her neighborhood to work the morning of Oct. 24 when she saw a car filled with flames on the 10700 block of Pookey Way.

"I went past the corner of Pookey and Birdie Lane and I looked to my right and there was a vehicle full of fire," Jenkins said. "The fire was inside the car, and flames and smoke were fuming out of the driver's side of the car."

Jenkins immediately turned around and drove home to call 911, she said.

"What I imagine is someone threw something inside the car that made it go up in flames," she said.

After an initial string of nine arsons on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25, the fire department issued an alert detailing the crimes and the culprits struck again -- seven more vehicles were burned on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 in Bowie and Upper Marlboro. Three vehicles were also torched in a Greenbelt parking lot on the 7700 block of Hanover Parkway.

In each instance, a flammable liquid was used to ignite the vehicle, according to fire investigators. Most vehicles were parked on streets in residential neighborhoods, with the exception of the three vehicles in Greenbelt.

There appears to be no pattern, though, in how vehicles have been targeted, according to fire spokesman Mark Brady.

Fire investigators are looking for two perpetrators, who appear to be male in security footage capturing one of the arsons, Brady said.

"Some security cameras have captured the two individuals in the act of the crime," Brady said. "Unfortunately, the video is not good enough to provide any more details."

bgiles@washingtonexaminer.com

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