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Monday, June 24, 2024

A man set fire to a stack of newspapers early Thursday morning in the back of the delivery van for the Independent Florida Alligator.

The fire did not cause apparent damage to the van, which is parked behind the Alligator’s office at 1105 W. University Ave.

An Alligator employee called police at about 8 a.m. Thursday to report smoke coming from the 1995 Chevrolet van, according to Gainesville Police.

Gainesville Fire Rescue workers arrived soon after and quickly put out the fire, police said.

Surveillance footage shows a man approaching the van at 4:01 a.m.and leaving on a scooter at 4:14 a.m. During that time, the man is seen walking away from the van and returning. A car can also be seen driving through the Alligator parking lot more than once after the man left. According to authorities, the man seen on foot may have been in the car.

Patricia Carey, the Alligator's general manager, said she is just glad no one got hurt.

"It could have been worse," she said.

Police describe the suspect as a 5-foot-8 white male, between 18 and 30 years old. Anyone with information is asked to call Sandy Ellison of Gainesville Fire Rescue at 352-393-8468 or Gainesville Police Detective Joseph Mayo at 352-393-7617.

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