Police are on the lookout for a suspected arsonist in Sunnyside who may be linked to at least five different fires, including a blaze in a former city councilman’s SUV, cops said.
A 2007 Mercury Mariner belonging to former City Councilman Eric Gioia was spotted in flames in his driveway near 49th Street and 39th Avenue Sunday around 5 a.m., the NYPD said. Officers who responded then found four other blazes in nearby locations, police said. There were two rubbish fires near 50th Street and 39th Avenue and another two at 49th Street and 39th Avenue, the NYPD said.
Gioia posted photos of a man police identified as a suspect on his Twitter page soon after the incident and assured followers he was unharmed.
“I’m fine, kids and Lisa are safe --FDNY just put out fire,” the three-term councilman tweeted. “My car just went up like a Roman candle while in my driveway.”
The NYPD said there was no evidence to suggest Gioia’s car was targeted.
No one was injured in any of the fires, police said.
Authorities released surveillance images of man they believe is a suspect, who has short black hair and was wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimes
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community News Group
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