ALABASTER, Alabama — Alabaster police are investigating an arson case involving a patrol car parked in a church parking lot that was intentionally set on fire during the early morning hours on Tuesday.
The police department is reporting that officers received a report at about 12:30 a.m. of the patrol car burning in the parking lot of First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster on Highway 119 just south of Fulton Springs Road
"When officers arrived they found the Ford Crown Victoria engulfed in flames. A preliminary investigation has determined that the car was intentionally set on fire. The police car is a total loss," the department said in a post on Facebook today.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Alabaster Police Department at 663-7401.
Alabaster Chief of Police Curtis Rigney said no suspects have been identified in the case, which was reported by a passer-by.
"We’ll be working this and hopefully with the public’s help we can develop some leads and hopefully it will lead to an arrest," he said in an interview this afternoon.
The department allows officers to park patrol cars at various locations including church parking lots and shopping centers when they’re not in use.
"We have them stationed in different locations throughout the city," Rigney said. "We put them at different businesses and churches as a security precaution so it may deter some form of crime."
Vandalism to a patrol car is unusual for the department, he added.
"We haven’t had anything like this happen before. It’s very disappointing. That’s an asset to the taxpayers. They pay for it," he said. "We take it very seriously. It’s an expensive asset. Not only was the car destroyed, but the equipment inside, which was also very expensive."
To replace the vehicle with a Chevy Tahoe the department is using, along with the equipment, will cost close to $50,000, Rigney said.