79-Year-Old Torched Dealer’s Cars Over Jeep He Bought in 1986, Police Say

He told police it was “time for the chickens to return to roost” for being sold a lemon with a “bad motor” more than three decades ago.

byPeter Holderith| PUBLISHED Jul 28, 2022 11:45 AM
79-Year-Old Torched Dealer’s Cars Over Jeep He Bought in 1986, Police Say
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Police said a man torched cars July 25 at multiple dealerships in Fort Wayne, Indiana, because he said he was sold a Jeep with a "bad motor" in 1986, according to court documents. Dewey Fredrick, 79, claims he was sold a Jeep by the dealership franchise, O'Daniel, and it "refused to make it right." On Monday night, Fredrick drove his white Chevy S10 pickup to two of the franchise locations, burning three cars at one lot, and attempting to torch a fourth at another, according to police.

The cars, a 2019 Jeep Compass, a 2020 Jeep Cherokee, a 2013 GMC Acadia, and a 2008 Pontiac Solstice, were all totaled because of of the damage. The Compass, located at a used car lot owned by O'Daniel, was Fredrick's primary victim. Video obtained by police reportedly shows the vehicle bursting into flames shortly after a road flare was dropped into its fuel tank. The resulting fire spread to the Cherokee and Acadia, scorching them both. The 79-year-old then drove to a Mazda dealership owned by the same franchise, cutting into the top of the Solstice and dispensing a road flare into the interior, according to an affidavit. Police said the vehicle's seat caught fire, with "heat and smoke damage" to the interior.

In an interview with police, Fredrick stated that it was "time for the chickens to return to roost" 36 years after he was allegedly sold the bad Jeep. The elderly man also admitted to placing, "Loctite, Super Glue, and another accelerant" in the door locks of several vehicles owned by O'Daniel shortly after purchasing the truck in the 1980s. Despite his arrest, Fredrick seemed to have no regret concerning his recent actions. Court documents said he was "upset that he did not get to see the fire [happen]." After asking to see photos of the damage to the Pontiac, Frederick was disappointed it was not more severe. Police also said Fredrick laughed after they told him the dealership was likewise upset about the fire. Obviously not for the same reason.

The Indiana native faces four counts of arson. He was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in court July 28.

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