Investigators see more SUV arsons as economy sinks
Gas prices are high and the economy’s low — when the car loan payments are hard to meet, what’s an SUV driver to do? In too many cases, the answer seems to be: torch it. Investigators suspect that hundreds of vehicles have been burned in such a fashion in the Washington, D.C., area alone over the last two years, with perpetrators blaming thieves (or perhaps “eco-terrorists”) and trying to collect insurance. “With what’s just happened to the economy in the last week,” says one insurance-fraud investigator, “I see the trend will get worse.” The number of delinquent loans to car dealerships, a statistic that tends to correlate with the number of such arsons, is currently at levels not seen since at least 1990.