A Florida man is behind bars after setting a Sheriff

 A Florida man is behind bars after setting a Sheriff's patrol vehicle on fire and "feeling bad" for doing it, according to deputies.

SPRING HILL. Fla. – A Florida man is behind bars after setting a Sheriff’s patrol vehicle on fire and “feeling bad” for doing it, according to deputies.

According to deputies, just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 911 operators began receiving several calls regarding a Vehicle Fire. 

Callers reported the vehicle, a Hernando County Sheriff’s Office marked patrol vehicle, was parked in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the area of Northcliffe Boulevard and Portillo Road in Spring Hill.

Several patrol deputies, along with Hernando County Fire and Emergency Services, arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire.

“Upon inspection, severe damage was observed in and around the rear passenger portion of the vehicle, near the gas tank.  Further investigation revealed trash and other items located directly under the gas tank, near the back passenger wheel.  Detectives believed the items were placed to set the patrol vehicle on fire deliberately,” said HCSO.

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Another vehicle, parked near the patrol vehicle, also sustained damage from the fire.

As detectives initially began their investigation, a male approached the crime scene and stated he was responsible for setting the fire.  The male, later identified as Anthony Thomas Tarduno, was detained by patrol deputies.

During an interview with detectives, Tarduno again admitted to starting the fire. Tarduno told detectives he was “intoxicated” and when he gets “drunk” he does “stupid things.”

Tarduno went on to tell detectives he had been drinking at a bar on Northcliffe Boulevard.  He left the bar on foot just before 4:30 p.m.  While walking, Tarduno noticed the patrol vehicle and decided to set it on fire. 

He went to a nearby dumpster and grabbed a bag of garbage.  Tarduno then placed the bag under the patrol vehicle and used a lighter to set it ablaze.

After setting the fire, Tarduno went back to the bar.

Several minutes later, Tarduno said he “felt bad” and returned to the scene to confess.

Tarduno cooperated with the investigation, even telling detectives he was a “professional arsonist” and has been arrested and convicted for similar offenses. 

Tarduno also stated he did not target the vehicle because it was a patrol car, and any car parked there would have been set on fire.

Detectives placed Anthony Thomas Tarduno, 48, under arrest, charging him as follows:

  • Arson (2 counts)
  • Bond – $30,000.

Tarduno remains in the Hernando County Detention Center.

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