Mailboxes and car set on fire on east side; police search for suspects
Ina Ronquillo, Simone Del Rosario
By Ina Ronquillo, Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Feb 16, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb 16, 2014
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Several mailboxes caught fire in a east side neighborhood Sunday morning and Tucson Police said it's no accident.
Tucson Fire ruled the string of fires as arson, and now police are searching for suspects.
Police said vandals targeted eight mailboxes along two blocks near 22nd and Wilmot.
Neighbors told Nine On Your Side they either woke up to their mailbox on fire or police banging on their door.
But the worst of it is when one family woke up to the fire department in their driveway and flames taking over their car.
When Jake Lawson jumped out of bed to firefighters outside his door, he immediately thought the worst.
"There was inches between the flames and my house; my family; my wife; my child; my pets; everything would have been gone," he said. "I wouldn't have even been awake to know that we were gone."
Lawson said firefighters only noticed his car was on fire because they were driving through the neighborhood checking mailboxes, like 94-year-old Don Manke's, a World War II veteran who woke up to police at the door and burning coals in his mailbox.
"That is not only a crime against property but it endangers people's lives too," Manke said.
Lives like the Lawsons. Now Jake Lawson has a message for whoever set fire to his car and his neighborhood.
"Don't do this ever again to anybody. We got lucky. You got lucky! You're not a murderer today."
But police are searching for suspects. Neighbors said police were trying to lift prints off the mailboxes after the incident but police said they don't have any leads yet.