Three Sheriff's patrol cars set on fire

Three Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicles were badly damaged this morning when they were deliberately set on fire, according to Sheriff Jim Mele.

The Sonora Police Department received emergency calls around 3 a.m. about a fire in the parking lot behind the Sheriff's Office administration building on Yaney Avenue.

Mele said a deputy who was in the office at the time went to check on some strange noises he heard and saw several vehicles "fully engulfed in flame."

The Sonora Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly after and extinguished the blaze before any damage to the Sheriff's Office building or surrounding homes could occur, Mele said.

"We were very fortunate nobody was hurt and no residences or structures were lost," he said.

Mele said Sheriff's Office investigators discovered once the fire was put out that a private car belonging to an unknown person was parked between two Sheriff's Office patrol cars.

Investigators found evidence that gasoline was poured on the private car and the three patrol cars, along with six others in the parking lot that weren't ignited, Mele said.

"This was a deliberate act," said Mele.

The Sheriff's Office has put in calls to state and federal authorities to help with the investigation and determine whether this could be considered an act of terrorism against the department, according to Mele.

The Sheriff's Office currently has no leads on a suspect, but are scanning videos from surveillance cameras in the area, Mele said.

"Obviously this was someone who was very angry or upset at the Sheriff's Office," Mele said.

11855563
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday August 26, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report

08/22/2016

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more

Nursed back to health, hawk flies free

08/19/2016

Sonora resident Laura Reid was driving on Tuolumne Road when she saw ... more

Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more

Three rescued from wreck near Yosemite

08/23/2016

Three German tourists were rescued Tuesday from the scene of a crash ... more