Burglars Hit Collision Center, then Burn Cars

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(Memphis) Memphis police are looking for burglars who set a number of cars on fire after ransacking the outdoor parking lot of a Memphis collision center.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze.

Five cars were scorched to the frame Sunday. Memphis Police say burglars set fire to the cars after breaking into every car in DeSoto Collision Center's private lot. Those attending worship service across the street were shocked.

“I think it’s kind of strange to be happening in this particular environment, especially on a day like this,” said T.C. Thomas.

A witness sent News Channel 3 a picture of the fire. It shows smoke billowing from behind the fence. He said an off-duty firefighter saw the flames, opened the gate and called for help. At that point, the man says only one car was on fire, but by the time fire trucks arrived it had spread to four others.

Thomas says businesses in the area try to keep an eye out for each other.

“It's kind of like neighborhood watch,” he said. “We're here mostly on the weekends and kind of at night. All of these other places are closed. They look out for us during the day and we look out for them at night and on the weekends.”

One woman who wanted to remain anonymous dropped her truck off at the auto shop next door and almost hesitated to leave it.

“I was very concerned and also blown away because I've been dealing with this location now for about 13 years and I've never had any issues,” she said.

She hopes the burglars are caught before they strike again.

“It's wrong,” she said. “Those are other people's vehicles and you're setting them on fire for no reason. If you're trying to hide something then you need to be caught. It's just wrong.”

Police want to track the person responsible for the burglary and fires. If you saw any suspicious people or cars in the area near Appling Way on Sunday afternoon, call Crime Stoppers at 901.528.CASH.

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