Michigan man accused of setting fire to truck in eight states

(KRQE) — A Michigan man has been charged with a statewide arson attack that included more than two dozen trailer truck fires in at least eight states, the Justice Department announced.

Viorel Pricop, 64, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one charge of setting fire to interstate commerce property.

Federal investigators believe Pricop, a truck driver from Allen Park, Michigan, may have retaliated against his former employer, Swift Transportation, for allegedly setting the flames.

According to an affidavit filed with the federal complaint, investigators said that between June 2020 and September 2022, 25 separate Swift Transportation trucks were set on fire, all at gas stations or rest stops and all in the middle of the night.

Investigators collected data from cellphone towers and found that the same GPS device was present at the site of the fires. This device was installed in a Pricop commercial truck, they said. It was also later discovered that Pricop’s mobile phone was present at the site of 24 of the fires.

Search warrants to Pricop’s vehicle and home turned up documents and other records that matched locations where the fires occurred, investigators said.

The fires occurred primarily along Interstates 10 and 40. Investigators are aware of at least 25 similar blazes, including nine in New Mexico, six in California, three in Arizona, three in Texas, and one each in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

According to the US Attorney for the Central District of California, the defendant has only been charged with arson so far. The charge carries a minimum five-year prison sentence and a maximum of 20 years.

Pricop was previously convicted of transporting stolen goods in 2018. Swift Transportation also cooperated with this investigation.

https://wgntv.com/news/nexstar-media-wire/michigan-man-accused-of-setting-trucks-on-fire-in-8-states/ Michigan man accused of setting fire to truck in eight states

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