Police: Patrol car intentionally set on fire

Alabaster firefighters work to extinguish one of its patrol cars on Sept. 9 after it was intentionally set on fire. (Contributed)

Alabaster firefighters work to extinguish one of its patrol cars on Sept. 9 after it was intentionally set on fire. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster Police Department is investigating what they believe to be an intentional act of arson involving one of the department’s patrol cars.

At about 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 9, the department received a report of one of their patrol cars burning in the parking lot of a church on Alabama 119. When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a Ford Crown Victoria patrol car engulfed in flames.

“A preliminary investigation has determined that the car was intentionally set on fire,” read an email from Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney. “The police car is a total loss.”

Rigney said Alabaster officers routinely park their cars in parking lots throughout the city to strengthen police presence in the community. The car had been parked for the night by the officer using it the night it was set on fire, Rigney said on Sept. 11.

Rigney said insurance likely will cover a portion of the car’s replacement cost, but said “It’s going to cost (the department) some money” to replace the Crown Victoria, which is no longer produced by Ford, with a new Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicle.

As of Sept. 11, the department had not made any arrests in the case, but was following up on multiple leads, Rigney said.

“We are still investigating it and following up on some leads today,” Rigney said.

Anyone with information regarding the vehicle fire is encouraged to contact the police department at 663-7401.