Crime

Gilbert Man Sets Car on Fire With Firework. Bad Move -- Car Actually Police "Bait Car"

When the Gilbert Police Department parked a "bait car" near 950 North Gilbert Road Sunday night, they probably thought they'd nab someone trying to steal a stereo, or maybe even the car itself. But 18-year-old Anthony Rubio upped the ante: he burned the car to a crisp.

According to court records, about 10 p.m. Sunday, Rubio stole an iPod and a small solar panel from inside of the vehicle as it sat parked on a Gilbert street.

It's unclear if police were monitoring the vehicle, and if so, why they didn't arrest Rubio when he stole the iPod, but they probably wish they had -- because Rubio wasn't done.

A few hours later, about 2:40 the following morning, Rubio approached the car again, only this time he didn't take anything out of it, he put something in: a firework.

Rubio, probably not realizing the car, out of which he had just stolen the iPod, was actually a cop car, threw a lit firework into the open window of the car and walked off. The firework didn't just explode, it set the car on fire.

From the arrest report:

THE LIGHTED FIREWORK SUBSEQUENTLY CAUSED THE CAR TO CATCH ON FIRE CAUSING MAJOR INTERIOR DAMAGE. THE INTERIOR WAS COMPLETELY
MELTED TO A CRISP. THERE WAS ALSO MAJOR DAMAGE TO THE EXTERIOR OF THE CAR WHICH CAUSED IT TO BE CHARRED.... DAMAGES TO THE CAR ARE ESTIMATED TO BE APPROXIMATELY $10,000.

Rubio was arrested a short time later. He copped to everything -- stealing the iPod and solar panel, and throwing the firework into the car.

Rubio's been charged with one count of arson, two counts of theft, and one count of possession of explosives.

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James King
Contact: James King