Jon Johnson File Photo: The GCSO located a stolen car that was on fire.
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – Late Saturday night, a man reported his car stolen. During the report, a deputy informed the man that his car had already been found early that morning, on its side and on fire at Clay Knolls south of Safford.
According to Sheriff’s Office reports, the man advised that he had gone to Tucson on Friday, and when he came back Saturday night his red Mitsubishi Lancer was missing. He said he didn’t remember if he left the vehicle unlocked, but that he still had the keys and that he was still making payments on it to his cousin, who still presumably had the insurance and registration.
When informed of the condition of the car when found, the man became despondent and advised that he only had the car for a few months and had just gotten it running again.
Deputies initially responded to Clay Knolls at about 5:41 a.m. after a possible structure fire was reported and located the vehicle on its side and burning. The Safford Fire Department responded to the scene and put the fire out, but not before the rubber, plastic, and aluminum melted from the vehicle.
In searching the area, the car’s front bumper was found on the south side of the knoll and the rear bumper was located on the west side, both near the base.
A tag on the rear bumper contained the vehicle’s VIN number, which listed the registered owner as the victim’s cousin. The vehicle was towed by Nutcracker Towing to the Graham County Highway Department storage yard pending contact with the owner.
After interviewing the victim, the deputy took pictures of shoe prints from the victim and those who were with him and compared them to shoe prints found at the scene of the burned vehicle but they did not match. The case is pending further investigation.