Suspect arrested after setting police car on fire Saturday

ELKHART, Ind. -- The Elkhart Police Department reports a suspect has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to an Elkhart police squad car and gas well early morning on Saturday, June 22.

The report states on Saturday, June 22, at about 5:33 a.m., an Elkhart police officer responded to the Marathon Gas station at 1218 S. Main St. in Elkhart, in reference to an arson report.

The owner told police an unknown male suspect tried to ignite a gas well on fire earlier that morning, causing fire damage to the interior of the well.

The man then left the area.

While taking the report, the on-scene officer was informed a man set a police vehicle on fire in the south lot of the Elkhart Police Department.

At around 5:45 a.m., an on-duty officer in the parking garage at 175 E Marion St. heard a sound consistent with a car tire popping.

Through further investigation, the officer located an Elkhart squad car on the first floor of the parking garage on fire.

Officers tried to put the fire out while other officers attempted to locate the suspect.

The report goes on to state an officer then found the alleged suspect in front of Elkhart Central Fire at 500 East St.

Authorities say the man resisted being placed in handcuffs, causing an officer’s hand to be injured.

The suspect was taken into custody and taken to the Elkhart County Jail, where he was booked in connection with both arson incidents.

The man, identified as 32-year-old Abraham Villegas Jr. of Elkhart, was booked into jail on preliminary charges of two counts of Arson, a level four felony, and Resisting Law Enforcement Resulting in Injury, a level six felony.

An Elkhart Circuit Court judge found probable cause for the arrest and set Villegas Jr.'s bond at $75,000.

Villegas Jr.'s case has been sent to the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office for review of formal criminal charges.

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