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Three more teens arrested in string of St. Petersburg car fires

ST. PETERSBURG — Three more teenagers have been arrested in connection with a string of Molotov-cocktail car fires police say were set early Sunday morning out of boredom.

Alain Nguyenj, 18, of Tampa, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday. He is charged with making, possessing or throwing a destructive device and three counts of arson.

Tan Minh Tran, 16, and Quoc Tan Lam, 17, also were arrested.

Nguyenj, Tran and Lam were part of a group of teens who threw numerous homemade Molotov cocktails at 18 cars and houses throughout the city, police said.

The total amount of damage is still being tallied.

Police previously arrested two 16-year-olds — Mathew Pineda Kiernan and Francis Huy Du of St. Petersburg — in connection with the string of fires.

Nguyenj admitted his participation and was implicated by co-defendants, according to an arrest affidavit.

"They all operated together," said police spokesman George Kajtsa.

The teens' two-hour rampage around the city's east side began at 4:26 a.m. Sunday and ended at 6:26 a.m.

They used IBC Root Beer and Orange Crush soda bottles, which they bought on sale, and gasoline to make Molotov cocktails, police said. Investigators also found some devices that didn't fully ignite.

The fires caused a range of damage, from a woman's 2007 Toyota Solara convertible to a man's front porch.

Police said the teens told investigators they set the fire because they were bored.

"As far as I know, that's still the story," Kajtsa said.

Three more teens arrested in string of St. Petersburg car fires 02/02/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 12:01pm]
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