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Vehicles stolen and set on fire

MANCHESTER — Four motor vehicles — including a Manchester Water Works pickup — have been stolen from east Manchester locations and set ablaze in the last two weeks, according to police.

All were stolen after owners left keys in the vehicles overnight, said police Lt. Maureen Tessier.

“It makes it easy. They can get into the vehicle without making any noise, start them, and off they go,” Tessier said.

The thieves drove the vehicles to city parks or a deserted West Side area and set ablaze, destroying the vehicles.

Erin Loomis, who lives on Upland Street on the West Side, reported the vehicle fire that took place overnight Tuesday.

“It sounded like a huge explosion,” said Loomis, who said she was startled about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday as she was trying to sleep. “It shook the foundation of my house.” She said smaller explosions followed, as well as a lengthy horn blast.

Tessier said police have some promising leads in the case, but at this point no suspects.The thefts involve:

• A 2010 Honda Fit stolen from an Erskine Avenue residence overnight Wednesday. It was set on fire at the Stevens Pond boat ramp on Bridge Street. Witnesses said they saw a large pickup truck nearby. The pickup matched the description of a truck stolen from a Benjamin Street home that night.

• A 2011 Ford pickup belonging to Manchester Water Works was stolen from an employee’s residence on Allied Street overnight Tuesday. It was discovered in a wooded area off Upland Street on the West Side.

• A 2013 Ford F-250, a rental truck stolen Aug. 21 from the Holiday Inn Express parking lot off South Willow Street. The truck was rented by construction workers staying at the hotel. It was discovered overnight Tuesday in West Side woods as investigators probed the discovery of the Water Works truck.

• A Ford Focus stolen overnight Aug. 26 from the Velcro Parking lot. It was found burning at Pine Island Park.


mhayward@unionleader.com


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