A firefighter responds to a car fire (illustration). - B. LOUVET / BRST / SIPA
- A 52-year-old Lyonnais suspected of car theft and fires was arrested.
- He collected parts to sell them in an underground garage.
- His alleged acts directly or indirectly impacted 173 people.
This Thursday, a 52-year-old man was referred to the Lyon prosecutor's office. He is suspected of having stolen and then set on fire vehicles in Lyon. In total, 173 people were harmed by his actions, indicated the departmental public security direction (DDSP) of the Rhône.
The respondent is suspected of having stolen and then set on fire around twenty vehicles in the underground parking lots of residences in Lyon and in the neighboring town of Villeurbanne, between the months of December and July. These fires have "by propagation destroyed or degraded" other vehicles, bringing the total number of owner victims to 173, police said in a statement.
Cars were dismantled before being set on fire
The investigation, carried out by the departmental security of the Rhône, made it possible to understand the mechanisms in place. The vehicles, most of the time from French brands, were stolen on the public highway and then dismantled in an underground car park in Villeurbanne, before being "taken to surrounding residences where they were set on fire".
On Tuesday, police arrested a man who had previously been sentenced to five years for trafficking in stolen vehicles. Searches made it possible to seize "numerous vehicle starting computers", as well as "to discover two boxes configured as an underground garage".
During his police custody, the Lyonnais admitted to being "the author of the thefts of vehicles and their fire aimed at making his tracks disappear", according to the DDSP. The fires started by the suspect repeatedly affected the residents of the residences, sometimes forced "to evacuate in the middle of the night" or "inconvenienced by the release of fumes", underlined the DDSP. "The heat released from certain homes has even weakened the structure of certain buildings," the police insisted.
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