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Residents Of Northeast Philadelphia Deal With Rash Of Vehicles Set On Fire

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Arson - Vans Northeast Novack 10-14-12

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By Al Novack, Robin Rieger

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police and fire officials in the Northeast Philadelphia are investigating arson vandalism involving several parked vehicles.

The first was discovered around 3:30 a.m. Sunday near Castor and Solly Avenues in Rhawnhurst, where two special needs vans with handicapped lift provisions were destroyed.

“I’m pretty disappointed in mankind right now,” said Jeff Brown, the chief operating officer of PATH, People Acting To Help. “Not having them and not having them for the length of time we’re not going to have them, it puts tremendous pressure on us to get people to where they’re supposed to be.”

That incident was followed by four other intentionally set fires, one of which occurred in the 9700 block of Birwood Street.

One homeowner said his wife awakened to a lot of fire activity out front.

“She saw bright lights coming through the window and thought there was a fire truck and or ambulance out front,” he said. “She got up and saw her car on fire.”

Other fires include one in the 9800 block of Clark Street, the 9300 block of Bustleton Avenue and the 1900 block of Lott Street; all in the Bustleton section of the city.

Police have no suspects and no motive beyond the vandalism. All of the incidents happened in what’s considered a trouble-free neighborhood and only a couple of blocks away from a police and fire station.

“It’s just a bunch of reckless hoodlums for no reason,” said one neighbor. “It’s just awful.”

Philadelphia police say the ATF is involved in the investigation.

No injuries were reported.

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