Counting the Charred Cars Is Easy -- There are Nine* of Them. Unless You Count the One in McLaren Park...

Categories: Crime
'My car!'
As San Francisco's cars begin to go up in flames as if members of the Critical Mass crowd gleaned the ability to channel the Drew Barrymore character in Firestarter, we noted yesterday that counting the number of torched cars hadn't turned out to be so easy a task. The San Francisco Police Department gave us one number, the Chronicle and Examiner reported another -- and not every burned car seemed to go onto the seemingly intuitive list of "burned cars."

We talked with the SFPD late yesterday and they cleared everything up -- sort of.

Sergeant Wilfred Williams said that, the police have tallied nine burned cars in eight locations between July 23 and last night -- but, no, they aren't including the vehicle police found burned to a crisp in McLaren Park on Friday. We've long felt that there may be dinosaurs still roaming McLaren Park; there are parts of that place no one has ever been to. A burning car is just the beginning. In any event, sans the McLaren Park arson, here are the burned cars on the SFPD's list:
July 23 -- Post and Van Ness - 12:05 a.m.

July 23 -- Geary and Van Ness - 6:19 a.m.

July 25 -- California and Battery - 3 a.m.

July 25 -- Franklin and Fern - 11:37 p.m.

July 26 -- Olive and Van Ness - 4:08 a.m.

July 28 -- 48th and Geary -- 4 a.m.

July 28 -- 10 Bertie Minor Lane on Geary Corridor (two cars) -- 4:15 a.m.

July 28 -- 29th Ave and Geary -- 5:50 a.m.

You don't have to be a geography major to note that, yes, these arsons are occurring in clumps; the three on July 28 are easily within range of one person speeding along Geary. He or she wouldn't even have to turn the wheel on the car.

If you're thinking this sounds a lot like the work of the Outhouse Arsonist -- well, that's what everyone is thinking. When asked if the police are examining if there were any criminals who went to jail in February -- when the city's porta-johns stopped bursting into flame -- who were recently released, Williams responded, "It could very well be."

The police kindly request anyone who sees something suspicious -- in this case, lighting a car on fire -- to call 911 or the city's anonymous tip line: (415) 575-4444. 

*UPDATE, 7:30 a.m.: Four cars were set ablaze between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, putting the total at 13 (14 if you count McLaren).

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