Police: Man arrested after setting car on fire outside Spartanbu - FOX Carolina 21

Police: Man arrested after setting car on fire outside Spartanburg County Library

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Ismael Morelles (Source: Spartanburg Police) Ismael Morelles (Source: Spartanburg Police)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Spartanburg Police said a man set a car on fire outside the Spartanburg County Library on Tuesday afternoon.

According to an arrest warrant, Ismael Morelles is charged with Third-Degree Arson after intentionally setting fire to a Ford Focus parked in the library parking lot.

“I left the library and was walking to my car, and upon approaching the car, I saw it was fire and a man was standing there,” Theodore Koppe said.

Theodore Koppe, who is visiting from another state, said a man set fire to the rental car he was driving.

“He started leaving and then I reached over and swiped the fire out, which was on the outside of the car, then started pursuing him,” Koppe said.

Koppe said he followed the suspect until police caught up with him about 5 blocks away on Liberty Street.

“He pulled a hammer out and threatened me by saying if you touch me I'll hit you with the hammer,” Koppe said, “I told him, I'm not going to touch you, but I'm going to make sure you're in custody with the police.”

Spartanburg Police said they found items consistent with Koppe and other eyewitness accounts, which gave them enough evidence to place Morelles under arrest.

“He was using some paper and a flammable liquid that smelled like it was petroleum based,” Lt. Doug Harwell said.

According to incident reports, police also found lighters, a drill, tools, and a substance believed to be gasoline when they arrested Morelles.

Police said some other cars were also vandalized around the same time in downtown Spartanburg.

Police are questioning Morelles about those incidents, but at this point, he has not been named a suspect in those incidents.

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