A Florida man is accused of setting his girlfriend’s car on fire and staging it as a Donald Trump-inspired hate crime before faking his own kidnapping, police said.
Vincent Palmer, 27, of Volusia County, admitted to detectives that he wrote a racist note and taped it to his girlfriend’s mailbox before breaking her car window, dousing the back seat in gasoline, and lighting it on fire, Ormond Beach police said Sunday.
The note read, “I have wathed [sic] you for a long time and your n—r kids don’t belong,” The Ormond Beach Observer reported. The words “KKK” and “TRUMP” were also reportedly written on the note.
Ormond Beach police and firefighters responded to Staci Winn’s home on Biltmore Drive shortly Saturday morning after she discovered her 2015 Chevrolet Sonic was ablaze, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Police said the victim called Mr. Palmer to tell him what happened and he showed up while they were still at the scene. After conducting a background check, police discovered Mr. Palmer had a warrant out for his arrest on child-support charges, so he was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail and released on bail, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
On Sunday morning, Mr. Palmer’s grandfather called the Daytona Beach police to report that his grandson had been kidnapped after he found a note at his home with “KKK” written on it and drops of blood, The News-Journal reported.
Officers eventually found Mr. Palmer at a Burger King in Ormond Beach, where he confessed to the crimes, according to police. Police said he admitted that it was his blood on the note.
Mr. Palmer, who is black, said he wrote the notes “to keep investigating officers from thinking he was the suspect,” police said.
Mr. Palmer said he set Ms. Winn’s car on fire because of custody issues they were having over their children, the arrest report said.
He was jailed Monday without bail for second-degree arson, the Sentinel reported.
A GoFundMe page launched by Ms. Winn on Saturday has not been updated to reflect the police findings. A description for the fundraiser, which is aimed to raise $5,000 for buying a new car, says Ms. Winn, who is white, is a victim of a hate crime. It had raised $455 by Tuesday afternoon.