(Memphis) A Memphis man is accused of setting nine cars on fire.
Police say Terrance Stokes did it because he couldn’t afford to pay to get his cars back from a body shop.
They say Stokes went to the shop on Millbranch and set his two cars and seven others on fire.
The shop owner believes if Stokes wasn’t able to get his cars back, he didn’t want anybody else to have them.
He believes Stokes burned the other cars just so he didn’t look responsible for the crime.
“I want him to be locked up because he destroyed a lot of people’s property,” said Royce Dates, owner of Xclusive Custom Body Shop.
Dates says Stokes not only set his own two cars on fire, but also seven others, including an ambulance.
“It was a nightmare because we had to deal with all the different insurance agencies.”
It happened in June, but police just arrested Stokes Wednesday for the crime.
They say a friend ratted him out, saying Stokes and his wife plotted the crime.
The police report says Stokes doused the nine cars in gas, lit them up and then came back home, throwing all possible evidence, even his clothes and shoes, in a BBQ pit.
Dates says stokes alleged arson adventure cost him and insurance companies a lot of money.
“I think the whole total was over $60,000.”
Dates believes Stokes burned the cars because the body shop was going to file for liens on his cars.
That’s because Stokes hadn’t been able to pay a $1,500 bill and the cars had been left on the lot for more than 30 days.
It meant Dates could ask the State to let him keep the cars, allowing him sell them at auction.
“One of the things he told us was that we weren’t going to get his cars,” said Dates. “At the time we were like ‘yeah, we are’ but he had something else planned.”
Police say Stoke’s “plan” is likely going to send him to prison.
Stokes wife hasn’t been arrested.
Dates hopes Stokes is ordered to pay restitution to him, the other car owners and the insurance companies who had to pay for most of the damage.