Man charged with arson after allegedly setting two vehicles on fire

- A man has been arrested and charged after being accused of lighting two cars on fire in Buford, according to the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

21-year-old Nicholas Minardi has been charged with arson after allegedly setting two vehicles ablaze intentionally at the Buford Superior Self Storage, according to authorities.

 

Firefighters responded to the blaze on July 23 around 7:22 p.m. and crews arrived to find smoke and flames coming from one vehicle, and two storage units in the facility. They also discovered a second vehicle on fire at the opposite end of the complex.

Officials say the fires caused extensive damage to the vehicles and the contents inside the two adjoining storage units.

Investigators used surveillance video to identify Minardi, and officials say Minardi returned to the scene a couple of days later to check on his girlfriend's property, according to police.

Minardi claimed he heard about the fire in the news, though officials had not released information on the fire to the media at that time, according to authorities.

The manager of the storage facility got his tag number, which ultimately led to his identification and arrest, according to officials.

Minardi was arrested late Tuesday at his home. He was booked at the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond.

According to Fire Investigators, Minardi unlawfully entered the property with the intent to commit theft and cause damage to property.  He allegedly gained access to a van and stole loose change, but did not set the van on fire. 

Police say he did intentionally set fire to a car that was parked in close proximity to the back of a storage building, as well as a second car that was on the other side of the property.

Radiant heat from the first vehicle caused the fire to spread to the building. Fire Investigators took samples from the scene for lab testing, but have not yet confirmed whether an accelerant was used. 

Minardi’s vehicle is seen in the surveillance footage leaving the property around 7:11 p.m.  Through subsequent investigation and upon interviewing Minardi, Fire Investigators secured warrants for five felonies and two misdemeanors.

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