Arsonist wanted to ‘burn something’
Firebug torches police car and large bush, watches emergency services respond and then hands himself in
I have been thinking about burning something for a while. Andrew Downs, arsonist
‘Ileft home wanting to burn something. I saw a police car and knew that was it.” That is what Andrew Trevor Downs told a police officer when he handed himself in at the Tauranga Central Police Station after setting fire to a police patrol car and a large bush.
Downs, 26, pleaded guilty to a charge of arson when he appeared in the Tauranga District Court yesterday by an audiovisual link from prison.
The admitted charge carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ prison.
The police summary of facts describes how the drama unfolded in the early hours of November 4 this year.
About 3.16am Downs was driving along Pa¯ pa¯ moa Beach Rd after travelling from his home in Tauranga city to Pa¯pa¯moa “purposely” looking for something to set fire to.
Downs spotted a marked police patrol car parked in front of the Pa¯pa¯moa Police Station and next to it was a police officer in another marked police vehicle.
He drove to some nearby shops and waited until the officer had left the area. Downs returned to the police station and parked outside on the road.
Downs then removed a petrol container stored in the boot of his car and grabbed some long barbecue matches from the front passenger seat and walked up to the patrol car.
After splashing some of the petrol over the rear windscreen and boot of the patrol car, he stood back, struck one of the matches and threw it onto the patrol car.
A Tauranga man set fire to a police patrol car parked next to the Pa¯ pa¯ moa Police Station.