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Employees perplexed after suspect in South Salt Lake attempts to light two company vans on fire

Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 22:27:46-05

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah -- A South Salt Lake business is dealing with a 'mind-boggling' situation after a man was caught on camera trying to light the company's vehicles on fire.

On top of the attempted arson, the employees explain that it's what the man was doing right before and afterward that is just as puzzling.

Nikki Cicerone held a clear plastic bag filled with what's left of a burnt and charred gas cap and cloths.

They're what remains of the mystery that unfolded on Thursday, that Promedica just can't figure out.

"It's like, why?! Why us?" Cicerone asked.

She said Promedica sells surgical implant products, that they deliver to hospitals. The company owns two unmarked vans that they park outside their business on 3900 South near 300 East.

On Thursday night, she said she got a call that someone tried to set their work vans on fire.

"It felt honestly like we were in a gangster movie," Cicerone said.

Security video shows how this "gangster movie" unfolded. It starts when a man suspiciously walks around the parking lot around 7:30 p.m.

Two women from another business see the man and keep watch from afar.

Then, you see him head straight for the two Promedica vans while simultaneously stripping off some of his clothes.

"Taking off his jacket, taking off what looked like a shirt on top of another shirt," Cicerone said. "Seeing him open up the gas tank and shove a rag in there, and seeing the fire actually ignite-- it was just like, holy smokes!"

Flames ignite on both of the vans charring the area around the gas valve.

On one van, the smoke gets worse.

"The heat got so extreme, actually, that one of the tires exploded," Cicerone explained.

The man leaves, while one of the witnesses watches from her vehicle. The man walks right by her SUV.

Just when things can't get any weirder, Cicerone said the video shows the suspect trying to open the doors to a Rubicon on his way out. The man then makes his final exit in clear view of the cameras.

The women call 911 and firefighters quickly arrived to take over.

While Cicerone said she's thankful no one was hurt, they want to know who this man is-- and what possessed him to attempt this kind of arson.

She said they already ruled out the possibility of it being a former employee.

"This is really kind of scary... a lot of things run through your mind," Cicerone said. "Honestly the main question: Why?"

South Salt Lake Police is investigating the attempted arson. Anyone who may recognize the man, or has information on the crime, can call dispatch at 801-840-4000