Arsonists target cars in Binghampton neighborhood

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Binghampton neighborhood is on edge because of arsonists who’ve been targeting cars, and at least two cars were hit in the last week.

The arsonists were able to light one car ablaze, but they were stopped short of the second car catching fire.

William Vance’s car was the one that caught fire.

“I’m driving it this day, next day it’s gone,” he said.

Gone, as in destroyed. Police said it was set on fire by arsonists around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The SUV was parked behind Vance’s apartment near Holmes and Sam Cooper. The 76-year-old says he had just gone inside after making sure the car was locked when, all of the sudden, his neighbor came knocking at his door.

“Saying my car was on fire,” Vance said. “I went to the back door, and it was in a light blaze.”

He called 911, but the damage was done, and when the smoke was cleared, his car was all burned up.

“It was pretty bad,” he said.

The same thing nearly happened to Animut Woregna an hour earlier as he was closing his market on Johnson Avenue, which is just down the street.

Woregna was helping his last customer when he looked over at the security monitor and saw a man in the parking lot squirting lighter fluid all over his SUV. The man walked away as another man walked up and tried to set the car on fire. He got a good spark, but the fire didn’t take.

“It didn’t catch,” Woregna said.

That’s when Woregna yelled at his co-worker, who ran outside and chased the arsonists off. Woregna is glad his car’s okay.

“I just bought (it) like one month ago. It’s brand new, 2019. I spent like $30,000,” he said.

Police haven’t said if the same arsonists are responsible for both incidents. Either way, Vance and Woregna are shocked, and they don’t understand the motive.

“They don’t make money (setting a car on fire),” Woregna said. “If they rob somebody, they can make money, but they burn a car, (they) get nothing.”

Police haven’t given us any indication that they are stepping up patrols in the area.

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