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Police: Clearwater man set wife's car on fire

ST. PETERSBURG — A Clearwater man took a cab to his wife's mobile home and set her car on fire early Monday, police said.

Nelson Niel Daverese, 48, of 2690 Drew St., is accused of second-degree arson and violating a domestic violence injunction.

He and his wife are getting a divorce, said St. Petersburg Police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

About 3 a.m., police said Daverese took a cab to her home in Americana Cove, 7030 Mt. Arlington Drive NE, and placed a one-gallon milk jug that contained a flammable liquid under her green 2006 Chrysler 300.

His wife was asleep inside and awoke when she heard firefighters putting out the flames on her car.

The taxi driver told police that he picked up the man at Brandy's Lounge, 7220 Fourth St. N, and took him to Americana Cove. The man said he wanted to visit someone.

The driver dropped him off in the middle of the complex but stuck around because Daverese was acting suspicious, Proffitt said.

He said he watched from his cab as Daverese milled around the vehicle. Then, Proffitt said, the driver saw "an explosion around the car." The taxi driver called police and helped them identify Daverese after he left the scene on foot. Police would not name the driver because he is a witness.

Police stopped Daverese from leaving the area near 76th Avenue and First Street, Proffitt said, and booked him into the Pinellas County jail without bail.

He has previously been arrested in Pinellas County on charges of cocaine possession and battery on a person 65 years or older, jail records show.

Police noted the vehicle's interior sustained about $3,000 in damage.

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Police: Clearwater man set wife's car on fire 04/12/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 12, 2010 4:07pm]
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