Warrant shows possible motive, suspect in airport fire that burned 20 cars

nvestigators believe a former employee may be behind the arson fire that destroyed 20 cars near the Salt Lake Airport. (Photo: Mike Fessler / KUTV)

(KUTV) — Investigators believe a former employee may be behind the arson fire that destroyed 20 cars near the Salt Lake airport.

A car caught on a surveillance camera provided the link to a suspect, who has not yet been charged.

The search warrant stated a car was seen on camera just after midnight on July 8 in the area of the fire. A man wearing a long-sleeved plaid shirt, a black hat, light pants and black shoes was captured on security cameras accessing the parking lot operated by Hertz where the rental cars burned.

The documents said the bags "appeared to have some weight to them" because of how the subject in the video was carrying them. The warrant states:

The bags appeared to be lighter based on the way that the male was carrying the bags. Shortly after the male ran from the area, a visible fire was observed and called in to the Salt Lake Airport dispatch.

Documents state he then drove away from the economy lot at high speeds and had to stop and pay a parking fee to exit. His face was partially captured on camera, but the vehicle's license plates were recorded by cameras and traced back to a home in Salt Lake.

Police confirmed the driver's identity with photos and the warrant was requested for his home and vehicle.

Damage from the fire was estimated to be $500,000.

The warrant was for a search and seizure of evidence from his home with the intent to take photographs, drawings, maps, descriptions, plans and documents that connect the suspect to the Salt Lake airport. It also requested liquids or containers that could be used to destroy vehicles by fire and any clothing that was recognizable from the night of the incident.

2News is not identifying the suspect because he has not yet been arrested or charged.

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