Affidavit: Man Sold Lemon of a Car in 1986 Gets His Revenge

Dewey Fredrick of Indiana could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of arson
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2022 11:52 AM CDT
Updated Jul 31, 2022 11:50 AM CDT
Affidavit: Man Sold Troubled Car in 1986 Gets His Revenge
Stock photo of a vehicle fire.   (Getty Images/PJSmart)

A 79-year-old Indiana man is facing up to 48 years in prison after allegedly exacting revenge on a car dealership that earned his resentment almost as many years before. As the Washington Post reports, Dewey Fredrick "bought a lemon of a Jeep" from a car dealer in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1986. Thirty-six years later, in the early hours of July 17, Fredrick—still said to be upset about his experience with the troubled Jeep—allegedly drove to the O'Daniel used car dealership. An arrest affidavit claims Frederick then opened up the fuel door on a 2019 Jeep Compass and inserted the burning end of a road flare into the fuel line.

The SUV burned along with a 2013 GMC Acadia and 2020 Jeep Cherokee that were parked on either side of it, causing $72,000 in damage, per WANE. "All vehicles were a total loss," the outlet reports. Investigators say Fredrick then drove to a second O'Daniel dealership and dropped another ignited road flare into a hole he'd cut in the roof of a 2008 Pontiac Solstice convertible, causing $12,823 in damage, per the affidavit. When a Fort Wayne Fire investigator went to question Fredrick—who police say had been captured on a security camera at the first lot—he confessed to setting the fires and to putting adhesives and accelerant in the locks of several lot vehicles back in 1986, according to the document.

More than three decades later, he felt his initial vengeance was lacking, investigator Scott Alday wrote in the affidavit, per the Post. "It was time for the chickens to return to roost," said Fredrick, who claimed employees had "refused to make it right" after selling him the Jeep with a bad motor, per the affidavit. He laughed when told officials at the dealership weren't too happy about the damage, Alday wrote. Shown footage of the fire, Fredrick allegedly added, "Oh, that [expletive] was cooking wasn't it?" Arrested Friday, he's charged with four counts of felony arson and faces eight to 48 years in prison if convicted of all counts, per the Post. (Read more arson stories.)

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