Allen Park man found guilty of arson in nationwide string of semi truck fires

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CALIFORNIA – An Allen Park man was found guilty Tuesday, March 12, of maliciously setting fires to six semi truck trailers in California.
According to authorities, Viorel Pricop was found guilty by a jury in California of six counts of arson of vehicle or property in interstate commerce.
Prosecutors said Pricop set fire to six semi truck trailers belonging to Swift Transportation — four in California’s San Bernardino County and two in Riverside County. Pricop reportedly set fire to at least 18 other Swift Transportation semi truck trailers in other states — three in Arizona, three in Texas, and one each in Oklahoma, Lousiana, Arkansas and Alabama.
Background: Allen Park man accused of setting 25 semi trucks on fire in 8 states — from California to Alabama
Swift Transportation, a Phoenix-based commercial trucking company, hired investigators after 25 of its trucks were set on fire between June 2020 and September 2022.
Company officials said all the fires happened overnight while the semi trucks were parked or stopped at gas stations or rest areas. Authorities said the fires always started in or on the trailer, typically near the tires.
Prosecutors said a review of cell tower data near some of the fires showed that a specific device — later found to be a navigation device installed in a vehicle owned by Pricop — connected to cell towers near many of the fires at or around the times of the fires. Pricop’s cellphone data also linked him to the area of 24 of the 25 nationwide semi truck fires.
Search warrants were served in September 2022 on Pricop’s home and semi truck, where officials said they found additional evidence that linked him to the fires, including a gas torch, logbooks, shipping receipts, and other documents containing location information that aligned with 24 fires.
Federal investigators said the fires were due to a beef Pricop had with Swift Transportation.
Pricop is expected to be sentenced June 7. He will face a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison for each count or arson.

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