Miami-Dade Corrections via WPLG(MIAMI) — After a Canadian man’s plan to trade in a rented Ford Fusion for a new Mercedes at a Florida car dealership went up in smoke, he returned hours later and set several cars on fire, police said.
Sanjeev Grewal visited a Mercedes-Benz dealership on NW 167th Street in Miami Gardens on Nov. 29 and told a salesman that he wanted to turn in “a stolen vehicle” and finance a new car, according to the police report.
But, when a manager searched the vehicle identification number (VIN), it turned out to be an Enterprise Rent-A-Car that was rented to the 36-year-old back in September from a Las Vegas, Nevada, location.
After the dealership rejected Grewal’s potential trade-in, he left without incident — but not before management photographed him, his vehicle, and his Canadian driver’s license, according to the police report.
The photos would soon prove useful, as Grewal allegedly returned to the dealership in the same 2018 Ford at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 30 and hopped the wall surrounding the lot.
Video cameras allegedly caught Grewal pouring what appeared to be liquid on one of the cars in the lot, before lighting an object and throwing it on the ground next to the vehicle, causing it to burst into flames and spread to three other cars.
The damage to the vehicles cost over $300,000 worth of damage, according to investigators with the Miami Gardens Police Department. Grewal then allegedly drove off in his rental vehicle.
The city’s fire investigator determined the fire to be an arson, according to the police report.
A few hours later, Miami Beach police were called to investigate an early-morning disturbance at the Design Hotel, where they encountered Grewal. A strong smell of gasoline allegedly fumed in his hotel room and on him.
Police then searched his car, where they discovered several empty beer bottles with paper towel wicks that resembled Molotov cocktails, according to the police report.
Grewal was detained by police and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for an evaluation.
A Miami-Dade County judge on Monday set $100,000 bond for Grewal, who is charged with felony second-degree arson and criminal mischief, according to online records.
Homeland security requested a detention hold for Grewal for overstaying in the U.S., police said.
Grewal is represented by a public defender and has not entered a plea, according to online records.
If convicted, Grewal faces up to 15 years in prison.
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