Arrest sparked wave of Gothenburg car fires
Published: 07 Apr 2011 10:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Apr 2011 10:07 GMT+02:00
Police in Gothenburg revealed on Wednesday that the torching of several cars in the suburb of Backa over the past few nights was in touched off due to a police action.
More than twenty cars were set alight in recent nights, including a police car and a security guard's car and police now believe the fires are connected to an arrest made on Sunday night.
The arrest came after a patrol car followed two suspects fleeing on a motorcycle.
The motorcycle and the car collided in a roundabout and the two suspects were injured.
When police apprehended one of the two, he allegedly said, “This is not the last you hear of this”.
“We believe that was what started it. But when we are catching criminals red-handed and it is seen as police aggression, that makes me worried,” said Lars Klevensparr, head of the police in the greater Gothenburg area, to news agency TT.
On Wednesday police in the area upgraded the incident to a more severe level, which enables them to call on all the resources to combat the problem.
“The cost doesn’t matter. We’ll deal with the bill afterwards,” said Klevensparr to TT.
According to the police those responsible for the car first are 20-30 youths between the ages of 18 to 30. Despite wearing hoods to disguise their faces, most are already known to the police.
According to local newspaper Göteborgs Posten (GP), local residents are appealing to authorities to calm things down in the area, which they believe has become increasingly plagued by lawlessness over the last ten years.
“The police are too lenient. They should take a strong line against these youngsters. As it is, they are just laughing at the police,” one resident told GP.
In the last two to three years, things seem to have gone from bad to worse.
“To me it is completely incomprehensible that such a small group of 10-20 people are managing to terrorize a whole neighbourhood through their total lawlessness, “ another resident said.
Things were reportedly calm in Backa on Wednesday following a greater police presence in the area.
“We’ll be around here in Backa a lot more in the near future. We’re not just talking to the youngsters but everyone, young and old. We’re doing everything we can to keep the area calm,” said Björn Mattson of the local police to GP.