An Allen Park resident faces a hefty prison sentence after a California jury found him guilty of leading a fiery spree across the country, setting fire to trailers belonging to a major trucking company, Swift Transportation. Viorel Pricop, 66, not only torched trailers in California, where six fires led to his convictions on Tuesday, but he also allegedly set fire to 18 other trailers in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama, causing headaches for Swift Transportation from 2020 to 2022.

Pricop’s destructive spree against Swift Transportation could result in him spending the rest of his life in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. During a comprehensive 16-day trial, jurors were presented with irrefutable evidence such as Pricop’s cellphone data, which placed him near the scenes of the fiery crimes, a navigation device in his truck connecting to nearby towers at the time the fires were set, and a trove of incriminating items discovered during a search, ranging from a gas torch to logbooks aligned with the fire locations.

Prosecutors laid out Pricop’s past with Swift Transportation, revealing a tangled web of grievances that led to his criminal outburst. Their history includes a prior arrest after Pricop was caught with stolen goods from one of Swift’s “bait trailers” in Michigan, and he served time for tax offenses and transporting stolen goods shortly before he began his arson spree in 2020, a detail unearthed in the joint investigation between the ATF and the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office.

With sentencing scheduled for June 7, Pricop could face a minimum of five years behind bars for each of his six arson charges, although each charge could carry up to 20 years.


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