TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested an arsonist who allegedly set a patrol car on fire in Spring Hill Wednesday, and returned to the scene of the crime and admitted to it.
According to deputies, Anthony Thomas Tarduno set a marked Hernando County patrol vehicle on fire in the area of Northcliffe Boulevard and Portillo Road just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. The fire also damaged a vehicle parked next to it.
Firefighters responded and quickly put out the flames. Investigators noticed most of the damage was near the gas tank. Under the gas tank was trash and other items that were used to set the car ablaze.
While detectives were at the scene investigating, they said Tarduno approached them and said he was responsible. He was taken into custody.
Tarduno told detectives he was “intoxicated” and does “stupid things” when he gets drunk.
He said he left a bar on Northcliffe, saw the patrol car and decided to set it on fire.
“Tarduno also stated he did not target the vehicle because it was a patrol car, and any car that had been parked there would have been set on fire,” the sheriff’s office said.
Tarduno said he took a bag of garbage out of a dumpster, put it under the car and used a lighter to set it on fire, then went back to the bar. Then he started feeling bad and decided to confess.
Tarduno told deputies he’s a “professional arsonist” with a history of similar offenses. Online jail records show he was arrested in 2012 for arson. He also has an arrest for indecent exposure in 2011.
After his latest arrest, Tarduno was charged with two counts of arson, then booked into the Hernando County Jail, where he is being held on a $30,000 bond.