Cops: Man Burnt His Own SUV With Racist Intent

Matthew Bittner, 38, is up on charges including first-degree arson
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2019 1:30 PM CST
Man Accused Racism in Burning His Own SUV
A vehicle on fire.   (Getty Images)

A minority person touches something, and that's it—torch it? Connecticut police say that's what happened in the case of a volunteer firefighter whose SUV was found gutted by flames, the Connecticut Post reports. Police say Matthew Bittner, 38, didn't want his vehicle back after it had been stolen for a day in October, telling officers he didn't like where it may have gone. The Bridgeport resident then reported the SUV stolen again, and it was found burnt to a crisp, but a police probe pointed to Bittner and his buddy, Joseph Bogdanyi, 32, as the culprits.

Police say text messages between them support the notion that Bittner rejected a vehicle that might have been driven by minorities. Their texts allegedly include racist remarks, like Bittner saying the town needed a wall "to keep the animals from getting out." The two men have been released on $100,000 bond each and are expected back in court Jan. 2, per the Monroe Sun. Bittner is facing charges including first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence, and insurance fraud, while Bogdanyi faces first-degree conspiracy to commit arson and making a false statement. (More arson stories.)

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