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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Suspect Arrested in Swedish Car Fires Investigation


7Dnews London

Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:29 GMT

A man suspected of arson in connection with car fires in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, has been arrested in Turkey, police said on August 15th.

Dozens of cars were set on fire in Sweden on the night of August 14th. According to AP, in Gothenburg alone 80 vehicles were destroyed or heavily damaged. 

 In other cities, similar displays of violence and vandalism were witnessed. Police were attacked with stones. Trollhättan, Malmö, Helsingborg and Stockholm reported a combined total of about 90 cars that were attacked in some form.  

Police and fire brigades were out in large scale operations and witnesses reported they saw teenagers, dressed in black and wearing masks, setting the vehicles on fire. The masked groups moved from car to car, smashing windows, pouring flammable liquids inside and then setting the vehicle alight. Their actions were also caught on camera in some instances. 

Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg commented on the arrest that a man in his 20s was detained a day earlier as he tried to enter Turkey. He is suspected of arson in connection with the car fires and is expected to be returned to Sweden. 

Two others, aged 16 and 21 who live in Frolunda, a suburb of Gothenburg, where some of the fires took place, were also arrested on suspicion of arson. 

The Swedish police believe the arson attacks were coordinated on social media but have no clear idea on the motivation behind them. They noted the fires started within a short period of time and believe "there is a connection between the blazes." 

"As of now we have no motive whatsoever," Fuxborg told AP. "Our theory is that the fires have somehow been coordinated on social media like Snapchat but we do not know why." 

In a separate statement, Sweden's national police said reasons for such fires are hard to establish and can have different motives, including provoking authorities, hiding traces in connection with criminal activities or insurance fraud. 

Such fires are "not a new phenomenon" the statement said. "There is a tendency for a hike in connection with the end of the school year, the beginning of the school year and in the winter when fireworks are on sale." Schools in Sweden started Monday after the summer break. 

Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, also commented on the events and lashed out at the perpetrators, asking them: "What the heck are you doing?" 

In an interview on Swedish radio, he said he was "really getting mad" and that "society must react in a tough manner." He further claimed the fires were "extremely organised." 

No injuries have been reported. However, the fires occupy police and rescue officials and frighten residents. "You damage residential areas and ruin it for your neighbours," Lofven continued.