Reporting Reg Chapman
LONG LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) – For the second time in three months, police squad cars in Orono have been the target of vandals.
Early Friday morning, officers found two cruisers on fire in the parking lot of the police department.
The vandals caused more than $100,000 in damage. The same department’s squad cars were vandalized in June.
Investigators have been sifting through what’s left of the police cruisers that were torched.
But right now they do not think this incident and the one that happened earlier this summer are linked.
Investigators believe setting the cruisers on fire took thought and preparation, and they believe this is much more than a prank.
“Both vehicles were fully engulfed,” said Police Chief Correy Farniok.
A 2010 Chevy Tahoe and 2009 Dodge Charger were torched. A third car had minor damage.
“Inside the vehicle are computers, video cameras, radar equipment, first-aid equipment, so you’re looking at $50,000 per vehicle,” Farniok said.
Investigators say they found a bottle containing an accelerant nearby. Their focus now is finding out who would do this, and why.
“We have no suspects, “Farniok said.
This attack comes on the heels of another incident on Orono police cruisers in June.
That vandal was caught on security camera, leaving behind messages of hate and using carp to shatter a windshield.
“I don’t know why you would do that, and think you’re not going to get caught, “Jennifer Koski said.
Many who live and work in Orono say they can’t understand why someone would attack those who protect and serve.
“To put the cars on the fire like that is just uncalled for,” Gloria Palmer said.
Investigators will continue their work while trying to keep their emotions in check.
“It hurts,” Farniok said. “Why would we be targeted, I don’t know.”
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the state fire marshal are assisting with the investigation.
Farniok said having two cars out of service will not hamper the department’s ability to handle calls.