Police: Man sets fire to car using gas

An Altoona man faces felony charges after police said he doused a car with gasoline and set it on fire.

Altoona police responded to the 2600 block of Broad Avenue Alley at 1:39 a.m. Saturday to find a 2013 Chevrolet sedan fully engulfed in flames in a parking space

behind 2614 Broad Ave.

Brandon J. Silver, 22, of 2616 Broad Ave., Apt. 2, was arrested and charged with felony arson and criminal mischief after officers were told by witnesses that Silver had poured gasoline over the car, lit a piece of cardboard with a lighter and torched the vehicle, according to charges filed before Magisterial District Judge Todd Kelly.

According to police, the woman who called 911 to report the fire was Silver’s girlfriend.

The owner of the car, which was recently purchased, said he saw Silver and two other men “lingering” around the scene and that one of the men with Silver had accused the car owner of “burning” him for $20.

The car owner told officers he didn’t believe that was the

reason the car was set on fire, police said.

Silver and the two men approached police at the scene and accused the car’s owner of dealing drugs, but police noticed that while talking to the men, their stories differed and they gave conflicting accounts as to what they were doing before the car caught fire.

Silver’s girlfriend talked to officers twice and gave different stories about what happened prior to the blaze, police said. One of Silver’s two companions allegedly told police that he got a gas can from his nearby property and Silver emptied the gas onto the car before using a lighter featuring the logo of the band AC/DC to set the blaze.

The other companion also told police Silver set the fire, which police said melted the car’s engine block, front tires and windshield.

The gas can was found nearby by police, and after Silver was taken into custody, police found an AC/DC lighter in his possession.

Police said the car was purchased recently for $18,829 and another vehicle parked nearby also suffered damage, although no dollar estimate was available Monday.

Saturday’s fire is the second allegedly started by Silver in the past two months, according to police. On June 10, Altoona police responded to the 2600 block of Broad Avenue at the request of Logan Township police after Silver allegedly started a brush fire in the township, according

to court records.

Altoona police charged Silver with theft-related charges after he allegedly admitted to stealing a gas can from a truck parked on the 2700 block of Pine Avenue so he could start a bonfire in the woods, charges indicate.

Silver remains in Blair County Prison in lieu of $20,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear Wednesday at Central Court for a preliminary hearing on the charges.