Sunnyside arson suspect torched former councilman’s car: NYPD [With Video]

Police say an arson suspect is linked to at least five fires in Sunnyside. Images courtesy NYPD
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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 or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 7:01 pm, August 19, 2013
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Reader feedback

Anonymous says:
This is false, clearly, the video posted below has NO substantial evidence to indicate that he is the arsonist. This video can be of any other human being passing by the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no evidence of him with any materials to set a car on fire, as well as any actions of him actually setting the car on fire. This suspect is only guilty for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Aug. 19, 2013, 4:16 pm
Anon says:
It's all fun and games till the cops become involved
Aug. 20, 2013, 12:27 am

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