ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – The Asheville Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating whomever set two police vehicles on fire early Monday morning.

The Asheville Fire Department responded to a parking lot near the 30 block of Lynndale Avenue to extinguish two police cars that had been set on fire.

“The duty sergeant was literally able to leave the west Asheville substation and could already smell it,” said Captain Joseph Silberman.

The patrol cars were in the overflow lot for the police department’s West Asheville Substation, off Redfern Street.

Silberman said they have teamed up with the fire marshals to investigate.

“Based on our investigation so far, we do know that there were people out and about. Then, they start down the road of how do we identify these people, find them and see if they saw anything or try and find out if they were involved,” he said.

Silberman said this is going to cost over $100,000 of taxpayer money.

“We have had vehicles vandalized in the past, to my knowledge this is the most severe vandalism we’ve seen,” he said.

Police said the unoccupied vehicles were destroyed.

(From: Asheville Police Department)

“Our big takeaway is that this wasn’t an isolated parking lot far away from everything. It’s adjacent to several homes and adjacent to a very old church, and this could have easily gotten out of control,” said Silberman.

Andy Werley lives right around the corner.

“That’s pretty scary. I know that crime’s been popping around lately, but that’s just a little too much,” said Werley.

He said he’s thankful the fire got put out quickly.

“There’s definitely some new construction right over here that backs up against that parking lot. So, it really could just rage right through the neighborhood,” he said.

Silberman said investigators are working to bring whoever is responsible to justice.

“We’re just glad nobody was injured, and this was caught early on by a diligent passerby, who we’re grateful called us,” he said.

Anyone who has any information about this case or knows the identity of the person(s) responsible to please contact APD at (828) 252-1110.

An anonymous tip can be sent using the TIP2APD smartphone application (search “Asheville PD” in your app store) or by texting TIP2APD to 847411.