Firebug or eco-saboteur? Anxiety mounted after seven trucks and sport utility vehicles were burned intentionally in two days in the Portland area, reports The Oregonian. Each vehicle was parked in a driveway or on the street in a residential neighborhood. Federal agents with expertise in domestic terrorism continued to take an active role in the arson investigation. Other seemingly random crimes have targeted cars recent weeks: anarchist symbols spray-painted on hoods and windows a week ago and a series of predawn tire slashings over the past three months.
Last weekend, San Diego arson specialists investigated a suspicious blaze that destroyed four sport utility vehicles at an auto body shop. Last month in Jackson Hole, Wy., fire officials scrutinized a series of early morning arsons targeting “gas guzzlers.” Monday, Denver arson investigators charged a man linked to environmental sabotage with setting fire to several SUVs over four days in March. In that case, firefighters found one smoldering truck scrawled with the letters “ELF,” the acronym of Earth Liberation Front, which the FBI considers a domestic terrorist group. Whether the group has a connection to Portland’s arsons remains to be seen.