Arsonist targeting law enforcement vehicles in Ocala



OCALA, Fla. - Marion County detectives are looking for an arsonist they believe is targeting law enforcement officers.

Authorities believe the same person is behind five arsons since June, four of which involved law enforcement vehicles.

All of the arsons have happened within a square quarter mile radius of the Whispering Pines subdivision in Ocala, authorities said.

The Sheriff's Office said one of the vehicles was a non-law enforcement vehicle and two were personal vehicles of law enforcement officers, including an Ocala police officer, whose cruiser was also burned the same night.

Investigators believe it's likely a person with a grudge against law enforcement.

"We would assume that he has a personal grudge considering that one Ocala PD vehicle was torched - as well as a Marion County Sheriff's Office. A deputies personal vehicle was set fire and an Ocala police personal vehicle was set fire. So it does appear that we are the target," Lt. Brian Dotten said.

A vacant house was also burned, and authorities said all of the fires were set with some sort of accelerant or fuel.

Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities.

The cost to replace the burnt vehicles with new vehicles will be even more along with the mental toll on family members of the officers who are tormented by the arsons happening right outside their doors, officials said.

Each incident happened at night and on a weekend.

In one case, the arson happened after the deputy left his family behind and went to work.

No one was injured in any of the fires.