Were cars torched by a fired-up neighbor?

Edmund Charles awoke late Tuesday to discover his Jetta was on fire. Later in the week, two other cars, owned by a couple in the same complex, were also set ablaze.
Edmund Charles awoke late Tuesday to discover his Jetta was on fire. Later in the week, two other cars, owned by a couple in the same complex, were also set ablaze. (JULIE SHAW / DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Posted: April 09, 2012

ABOUT 11:35 p.m. Tuesday, a neighbor banged on Edmund Charles' door at the Princeton Gardens apartment complex in West Mount Airy to alert a sleeping Charles that his blue Volkswagen Jetta was on fire.

Then, about 5:20 a.m. Saturday, two cars - a yellow 2010 Chevy Camaro and a bluish-gray 2008 Mercedes C300 - belonging to other residents in the same complex, on Germantown Avenue near Allens Lane, were torched, with flames rising to the nearby trees.

A 47-year-old man told the Daily News on Sunday that he and his fiancée, 42, own the Camaro and Mercedes. He said they were sleeping when "we heard a boom," then rushed out to see their cars on fire.

This man, who did not want to give his name, said he didn't know who set his cars on fire. He had them towed to an auto-body shop later in the day on Saturday, he said.

He said that on Thursday, someone left a note on one of his cars, asking the couple not to park in front of one of the garages. He showed the Daily News the note, which he kept in his other Mercedes, which was parked Sunday in the apartment complex's long back driveway. The driveway is lined on one side with garages.

Charles, 53, parks his Jetta in front of his own garage, not blocking any other resident from exiting his or her garage. The garage costs $35 a month, he said.

The man with the Mercedes and Camaro said he didn't want a garage, which he thought cost $100, and now wants to move.

However, other neighbors in the apartment complex, who did not want to be named, said that ever since the man and his fiancée, with their two Mercedes and Camaro, moved in a few months ago, problems have arisen among the couple and some residents with garages.

The Fire Department ruled all three car fires as arson. Police believe gasoline was used to set the Camaro and Mercedes on fire.


Contact Julie Shaw at 215-854-2592 or shawj@phillynews.com.

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