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Cape man accused in vehicle fire

By Staff | Aug 19, 2010

A Cape Coral man remained in jail Thursday for allegedly setting a pickup truck on fire that earlier had been reported stolen by the vehicle’s owner.
Alex Saul Perrotta, 21, of 2301 S.E. Eighth Ave., was booked Wednesday afternoon into the Lee County Jail on one count of second-degree arson, a felony charge. Perrotta remained jailed on no bond, according to records.
Cape fire units responded to a vehicle fire in an open lot at the corner of Northwest Ninth Court and Northwest 30th Street at about 1:47 a.m. July 14. According to officials, the 2010 Dodge Dakota pickup truck sustained $20,000 in damage from the fire, which the units extinguished on arriving.
“They put it out and then the fire department called us to investigate the fire,” Lt. Joe Minervini, with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said Thursday.
He added that the truck had been reported stolen by the owner.
Detective Dave Lepper, the lead investigator for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, determined the fire was incendiary in nature and the area of origin was the passenger compartment. Minervini believed debris samples taken from the scene came back positive for gasoline.
He said the results of Lepper’s investigation led to Perrotta.
“Based on his investigation, the evidence he got led us to the suspect and effected an arrest,” Minervini said.
The case and other possible suspects are still being considered.
“We had enough evidence to charge him, but we’re still looking to see if anyone else was involved,” Minervini said. “We’re still looking into it.”
Battalion Chief Alan Carter, with the Cape fire department, said the fire department, Cape police and State Fire Marshal’s Office worked together.
“This is still an ongoing investigation,” Carter added.
Perrotta has a court date set for Sept. 20.
According to Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, Perrotta has a record with the court system. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to battery and burglary of a conveyance and received one year of probation for each count. The sentences were set to run concurrently.
In 2007, Perrotta pleaded no contest to two counts of battery and was sentenced to one year of probation and 41 days in jail. That same year, he was prosecuted for throwing a deadly missile into a building, which earned Perrotta 85 days in jail along with court costs and fines, Syoen reported.