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Tampa Police cruiser broken into and set on fire, police say

Two people were arrested after a Tampa Police cruiser was broken into and set on fire, authorities say.

Police say while conducting patrol along Bay to Bay Blvd., officers saw two people riding bicycles with no lights around 1:30 a.m. Monday.

An officer pulled them over, and while speaking with them, smelled fire in the area.

Officers found a TPD cruiser in the parking lot of Shoresh David Messianic Synagogue of Tampa with the front passenger window smashed in and the front passenger seat engulfed in flames.

During the investigation, police found that the two men, Matthew Ethridge and Jeremy Penney, both had prior arson arrests.

Ethridge also reportedly had a fresh cut on his hand which he said he got while looking through a donation box on the property of the synagogue.

Blood was found on the front passenger door where the window was smashed and the fire was set, police say.

The two eventually admitted to breaking into the car and starting the fire.

They were each arrested and charged with Burglary of an Authorized Emergency Vehicle and Arson 2nd Degree.

Damage to the vehicle is estimated at about $3,000.

The cruiser was reportedly not used for routine patrol and is a dummy car, but it is still a city-owned police vehicle.

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