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Deputies looking for suspect in car explosion, fire in Washington County

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect after a car explosion and fire were caught on camera on Sunday morning.
Published: Mar. 6, 2022 at 2:03 PM PST
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect after a car explosion and fire were caught on camera on Sunday morning.

The sheriff’s office said it responded along with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue just before 8 a.m. to Fred Meyer at 7700 Southwest Beaverton Hillsdale Highway. When they arrived, the found a car that had been destroyed by fire. No one was inside the car or injured.

The car was owned by Richard Samson. He told FOX 12 he loaded it to a friend and didn’t even know it had been stolen until last Thursday. Then Sunday morning, deputies told him what happened and that his car was a total loss.

“I was pissed of course you know I got angry I was hurt because I was hoping to recover the car in tact. I loved that car,” said Samson. “It wasn’t just a car to me, it was something that I had bought on my own for the first time in my life, it was the nicest car I ever owned.”

Deputies reviewed surveillance video. It showed a person walk up to the gas tank area of the car holding something, which was followed by a large explosion. The person’s hand or arm was on fire, they removed a burning item of clothing and walked away.

Jeff Pollard was working nearby Sunday morning.

“I heard the explosion, and I turned to the right and I saw that the car was engulfed in flames,” he told FOX 12. “I knew the car because it had been sitting here for weeks.”

Pollard thought the car had been abandoned, and he thinks he was the person who committed the arson.

“When I came down the steps, I saw the guy walking towards the corner and then heading up the street, so when I drove by to leave there was two pairs of gloves,” he said. “One of them over here was on fire and then the other one was laying a little bit over here in this area, so I kind of wondered in the moment, ‘was that the guy that set the thing on fire?’”

The sheriff’s office said the suspect was seen wearing a dark hoodie, dark pants and a backpack.

If you saw someone matching the description, you’re asked to call the sheriff’s office at (503) 846-2700.