LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) - Lumberton police are looking for answers as to who set a marked police car on fire Tuesday night.
It happened just before 10 p.m., in the back of the First Baptist Apartments on Marion Road.
Police said this is the third time just this year that a Lumberton patrol car was intentionally set on fire. Investigators conducted a neighborhood canvas following Tuesday night's vehicle blaze.
William Little, who lives in the neighborhood, is hoping more will be done to help reduce crime in the south side area of Lumberton.
"(We should) get with somebody where we can all come together and have a talk with the people in this neighborhood," Little said. "Matter of fact, go door to door and, you know, let them be alert, like a neighborhood watch thing, to help everybody out."
According to investigators with the Lumberton Police Department, the marked police car was parked in an apartment complex on purpose to help reduce crime in the area.
"It could have been gang related. It could have been, you know, all sorts of things," said LPD Maj. Tommy Barnes. "Someone saw a patrol car that no one was around and just took the opportunity to set it on fire for whatever reason. Teenagers playing around or whatever, they could have videoed it or not. It's hard to say what they did."
Little said he watched as fire engines went through his neighborhood on Tuesday.
"I saw about three of them," he said. "They came down here, gone about 20, 30 minutes trying to help the situation. I appreciate them."
Little said the south side of Lumberton feels deserted ever since Hurricane Matthew hit. There are a number of abandoned buildings such as the apartment complex in question.
"Everybody has got to be careful these days because crime is happening all over with no reason at all," Little said. "It's uncalled for."
The North Carolina Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is assisting the LPD with the investigation. The ATF is offering a $5,000 reward leading to a possible arrest.
Anyone with information should contact the Lumberton Police Department at (910) 671-3845.