Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

Lynn towing service owner seeks justice after truck arson

The remains of a tow truck from Bill Woods Towing Service following Thursday morning's arson.

The remains of a tow truck from Bill Woods Towing Service following Thursday morning’s arson. (Courtesy)

LYNN — A towing service owner is steaming after one of his tow trucks was set on fire on Trinity Avenue early Thursday morning, but is baffled as to why someone would want to commit the crime.

“I don’t recall anyone being that upset with me that they would do something that drastic,” said Bill Woods, owner of Bill Woods Towing Service, located on Chestnut Street. “If I tow a car for police … people get pretty angry if they’re not insured, but I have never had anybody get that upset.”

The truck’s driver lives nearby where it was parked overnight, which was near a curb at the intersection of Trinity Avenue and Chatham Street, Woods said.

The truck is completely destroyed, Woods said, estimating its value at about $20,000. He plans to forward the police report to his insurance company and expects it to be insured, but said he’d probably have to replace it with a newer and more expensive model.

“I’m very upset about this,” Woods said. “It’s a big setback for me to have a piece of equipment like that burnt to the ground for I don’t think any good reason. It’s going to be really hard to replace it. It’s an older truck, but it was a nice workhorse. It did its job.”

Shortly before 4:30 a.m., a man was seen walking away after setting a 1999 International 4700 flat-bed tow truck on fire. The footage was captured on a neighbor’s video that was shared with the Lynn Fire and Police departments, according to Lynn Fire Capt. Joseph Zukas.

Lynn Fire crews responded and learned that the tow truck had been set ablaze by a person who stuffed trash and debris underneath a tire and near the truck, and used some kind of chemical accelerant to torch it, Zukas said.

“It was definitely an arson, but we don’t know what type of accelerant was used yet, or the motive,” Zukas said. “A person of interest was seen walking away from it.”

Adding to the damage, the truck had been parked on the street and when fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze, the truck’s brakes gave way and it rolled into a parked car and then a fence belonging to Trinity Avenue home, Zukas said.

The fire department is looking for the public’s help in identifying the man shown in the video, either from neighbors who saw someone walking away from the scene or additional home security cameras that may have captured the incident, Zukas said.

Zukas said a video appears to show a man wearing a black hoodie and dark clothes committing the arson and then leaving the scene, but the footage is grainy and investigators can’t get a good shot of the face. He declined sharing the video, citing it being part of an ongoing investigation.

“I’m just really happy nobody got injured but if that house caught fire it would have been a different story,” Woods said. “There’s not enough footage to be able to pinpoint somebody.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s Arson Squad at 781-599-0232 or the Arson Watch Reward Program at 1-800-682-9229. The reward program offers up to $5,000 for any information that helps detect or prevent an arson fire.

More Stories From Lynn