Former Stamford man extradited in torching of car

March 11, 2019 GMT

STAMFORD — A former city man extradited from Virginia over the weekend is being held on charges that he torched a car in 2015 that belonged to a city man who sold him what may have been a defective motor vehicle.

Lt. Tom Scanlon said that Irvin Palma, 21, formerly of Wilson Street, was charged with arson and is being held in lieu of a $10,000 court appearance bond.

Scanlon said that on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 at 2 a.m. police and fire were called to a vehicle blaze on Vassar Street. While police were there a bystander pointed out a white plastic bottle that smelled of gasoline.

A state police accelerant smelling dog was dispatched to the scene of the fire and the K-9 indicated that what was in the bottle was an accelerant probably used in setting the fire, Scanlon said.

When police looked into the fire a little further, investigator Richard Vetter found surveillance video of someone carrying plastic bottles, like the one found near the car, to the passenger side of the 2002 Subaru. A few moments later the Subaru burst into flames and a man was seen running to a car and fleeing the scene. The arson was one of four fires reported to be purposefully set that year.

When Vetter showed the video to the male owner of the torched car, he recognized the man in the video and the car the man used to escape from the scene of the crime.

The man told police that he and Palma had a big disagreement after Palma purchased a car from him and wanted a refund. But the owner of the charred Subaru would not give Palma his money back, Scanlon said.

Scanlon said that it appears from the information they have pieced together of Palma after leaving Stamford that he went home to his native Guatemala. Police nonetheless went forward and obtained a warrant for his arrest. Somehow Palma recently popped up in Virginia and police there became aware that Stamford had a warrant for his arrest.

Palma is being arraigned on the charge at the Stamford courthouse early Monday afternoon.