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Sharon Twp. Police: Suspect Set Fire to Cruiser

Updated: Tuesday, May 7 2013, 05:44 AM EDT
SHARON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Lisa Rantala/Ken Hines) -- Police want a central Ohio man to pay for damages inflicted when he allegedly set a cruiser on fire.

Officers arrested Stephen Soler Sunday night at his parents house on Ponoco Dr. after, police say, he violated a protection order issued on behalf of his parents.

Soler's mother told ABC 6/FOX 28 her son has a drug problem and seemed to be under the influence of an unknown substance when her husband called police.

Upon arrest, police say they patted Soler down and cuffed his legs together, along with his wrists. On their way to headquarters however, police say Soler slipped out of his seat belt and told the driving officer he smelled smoke.

Officers say they stopped the cruiser at Campus View Blvd. and High St., discovered flames on the vehicle's backseat, then pulled Soler out of the car to safety before calling Columbus fire fighters to the scene. The officers extinguished the flames before fire crews arrived.

Investigators say Soler spat on paramedics who checked him for burns, as well as the officer who put out the fire.

Police plan to remove the backseats of the cruiser in an effort to find a lighter or other device Soler may have used to set the fire.

Soler is charged with three counts of felonious assault. His bail amount has been set at $5,000.

The fire is believed to have caused more than $1000 to the cruiser. Police said Soler -- not taxpayers -- should be required to pay for the vehicle's repairs.Sharon Twp. Police: Suspect Set Fire to Cruiser

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