Newspapers in Alligator delivery van set on fire

The Gainesville Police Department released these surveillance images from early in the morning on April 26, when someone set fire to newspapers in a van belonging to the Independent Florida Alligator.

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.

Someone set a stack of newspapers on fire last week in the back of a delivery van for The Independent Florida Alligator, though the fire didn't cause any apparent damage, police said.

An employee arrived to work at the Alligator's office, at 1105 W. University Ave., at about 8 a.m. Thursday and found smoke coming from the white 1995 Chevrolet van used to deliver the University of Florida's student-run newspaper around the city, according to a Gainesville Police Department report.

Gainesville Fire Rescue firefighters quickly put out the small fire behind the driver's seat, the report said.

Surveillance footage showed a man believed to be the culprit walking in the Alligator's parking lot at 4:01 a.m. and leaving on a scooter at 4:14 a.m. A car also was seen driving through the parking lot, though it was not clear whether the person responsible used that vehicle as well, GPD spokeswoman Cpl. Angelina Valuri said.

The Alligator's van has been the target of criminals before.

On March 1, 2010, it was stolen from the parking lot, only to be found near an apartment complex months later.

Patricia Carey, the general manager of the newspaper, said Tuesday she had no idea what motivated the arson.

But, Carey said, "There's no damage. We were lucky."

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