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Police say string of car fires unrelated to each other - or Sweden

Police in western Uusimaa said there is no indication the intentionally-set car fires were carried out by the same individual.

Poltettuja autoja Matinkylässä Espoossa 7. lokakuuta.
The remains of a burned out vehicle in Matinkylä, Espoo on Sunday morning. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

The five cars apparently set ablaze in Espoo and Helsinki over the weekend are not likely related to each other, according to local police.

Five automobiles were found burning in the Espoo neighbourhood of Matinkylä early Sunday morning, which western Uusimaa police are investigating as aggravated vandalism.

The cars in Matinkylä were separated by a few hundred metres. The local emergency centre received an alert about the incident around 4:00 am on Sunday.

Overnight Sunday more cars were found burning in Vantaa and Helsinki. The car fire in Vantaa, appeared to be caused by a technical fault in the vehicle, which spread to cars parked next to it, according to local rescue officials.

However, Sunday night’s car fire in Tattarisuo, a north-eastern neighbourhood of Helsinki, is suspected to have been intentionally set, according to Helsinki police investigator Anne Hietala.

“Right now the case is being investigated as vandalism and it appears that fire was deliberately set,” Hietala said, saying that there was no more information about the incident.

Police suggest copycats may be responsible

Western Uusimaa police head investigator Teemu Värtinen said that at this stage in the probe there is nothing to indicate that the fires were set by the same individual, saying that media reports about the fires may have prompted others to carry out the crimes.

“These cases often happen in clusters, because news coverage fuels more of them,” Värtinen said.

Police officials also dismissed suspicions that the recent series of car fires in southern Finland were related in some way to similar incidents in Sweden, saying that the nature and motives behind the car fires in Sweden were different.

Police said that there are no suspects in the Espoo car fires at this stage of the investigation.

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