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Teenager charged with torching NYPD car in midtown Manhattan

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Posted at 2:48 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 14:48:32-04

MANHATTAN — Federal authorities have blamed a 19-year-old Queens man for torching a police car in midtown Manhattan earlier this month.

Victor Sanchez-Santa was charged Thursday with arson in Manhattan federal court.

Sanchez-Santa started a fire early on June 9 beneath a police vehicle near Times Square, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a release.

Sanchez-Santa stopped his car beside a marked NYPD vehicle on West 42nd Street in Manhattan. He got out of his car, took a cloth glove in his hand and held the glove to a flame until it ignited. He then put the burning glove underneath the NYPD vehicle, and got back into his car, leaving the glove burning beneath the police car, authorities said.

“As alleged, the defendant selected a clearly marked NYPD vehicle, walked up beside it, started a fire under the vehicle, and fled the scene. In allegedly doing so, he maliciously targeted law enforcement. Arson is also a threat to more than its immediate victim, with the potential to destroy and terrify far beyond the place where a fire is set. We have the quick response of members of the NYPD, FDNY, and ATF to thank for controlling the fire and identifying the defendant so he can face the significant charge for his alleged crime," Berman said in a statement.

Berman alleged Sanchez-Santa maliciously targeted law enforcement.

The teen was arrested Thursday morning and faced a court proceeding later in the day.

A police investigator said in a court document that Sanchez-Santa admitted he was in the vicinity of the vehicle torching shortly before it occurred.

It was not immediately clear who would represent him in court.