SWANSBORO, ONSLOW COUNTY - Investigators have identified a suspect vehicle in connection to a car fire at an Onslow County elementary school that has been ruled as arson.
Swansboro Police said they are searching for a light-colored pickup truck in connection to the fire that happened on Oct. 31. The blaze destroyed a 2005 Dodge Stratus in Swansboro Elementary School's parking. The vehicle, owned by Onslow County Schools, caught fire at about 2:30 a.m. that morning, and firefighters remained on scene until about 5 a.m.
Onslow County Fire Marshal Brian Kelly said the blaze appeared to have been intentionally set -- but investigators don't know who did or how many people were involved.
"There doesn't appear that that was done for any other reason than just a juvenile being a juvenile, or if it was someone burning the vehicle out of spite," Kelly said. "Whatever the motive, or rationale behind that is, we don't know that yet."
According to police, the fire started in the back seat. Nothing was stolen from the car, leading investigators to believe that the person or people responsible set the fire just to set it.
No one was inside the car at the time of the blaze, fire officials said. No injuries were reported -- but the school was "burned" in the end.
"When the school system has a loss like that we all feel it," Kelly said. "Our children feel it, when they no longer have the items -- someone has to pay to replace that vehicle. At the end of the day, we don't want this to escalate into something else."
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Swansboro Police Department at 910-326-5151. Crimestoppers is also offering rewards up to $2,500 for information leading to the suspect(s)' arrest.