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Firebug Hits Elmhurst

Say He Torched Police Cruiser, Other Cars

An Astoria man has been charged with trying to torch half a dozen vehicles-including a marked police vehicle-in the Elmhurst area last Wednesday, Dec. 3, prosecutors announced.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendant as Miguel Ramos, 23, of 23rd Street, who was charged with three-counts of third-degree criminal mischief and six counts of fourth-degree arson. If convicted, Ramos faces up to four years in prison.

“[Ramos] is charged with damaging six vehicles by stuffing a rag in each of the vehicles’ gas tanks and setting it ablaze,” Brown said in a statement last Thursday, Dec. 4. “These incidents should not be viewed as a prank. Arson is a serious crime that will be dealt with accordingly.”

According to the criminal complaint, Ramos was observed in front of a location on Layton Street at approximately 6:30 a.m. last Wednesday, alleged placing a dark-colored rag into the gas tank of a Honda Passport and lighting the rag on fire.

Ramos was then allegedly observed walking a few doors down and placing another dark rag into the gas tank of a white Nissan and lighting the rag on fire.

When police arrived at the scene, it was reported, they observed the fiery rags hanging from the two vehicles and charring and damage to the gas tanks and rears of the vehicles.

In conducting a search of the surrounding blocks for other vehicles that may have been targeted, police allegedly discovered four additional vehicles with dark rags hanging from the gas tanks and that had similarly sustained charring and damage to their rears.

The vehicles included a black Volvo in front of the Layton Street location, a gold Chevrolet and a black Audi in front of a Baxter Avenue location and a marked police car in front of Elmhurst Hospital Center at 79- 01 Broadway.

The investigation was conducted by detectives assigned to the 110th Precinct Detective Squad, the Arson and Explosion Squad and the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Investigations.

It was noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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