Nevada insurance fraud monitors say vehicle arson in the state has been on the rise for the past five years. Since 2000, the number of vehicle arsons has nearly doubled, from 213 in 2000 to 389 in 2005, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Car burns are becoming the new crime of this millennium,” said Brian Kunzi, director of the insurance fraud unit with the Nevada Department of Justice.
According to the state attorney general’s office, the reasons behind the increase are people leasing vehicles they can’t afford and having negative equity in their vehicles. To escape the financial obligation, the insured owners of the vehicles might report the car stolen or set fire to it. While investigators are able to tell if a burned car was an act of arson, proving the owner of the vehicle set the fire is far more difficult, Kunzi said. National statistics indicate only 19 percent of insurance fraud in the form of vehicle arsons are solved, he said.