Police search for man they say caught fire after torching another man’s car

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — Police are searching for a man they say caught fire after he tried to set another man’s car ablaze at a North Carolina convenience store.

Detectives say the arson suspect, who has been nicknamed “Smokey,” was apparently upset that he didn’t get the help he wanted from a driver, so he set the man’s car on fire.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Michael Bumpers asked a customer at a Circle K store if they had a car jack. The customer said no. Investigators say Bumpers wasn’t happy with that answer, so he proceeded to pour an accelerant on the car and set it on fire.

“There was no altercation. All the victim stated to the suspect was that he didn’t’ have a carjack. It’s unknown why the suspect committed the act that he did,” Detective Adrian Johnson said.  

Several people who frequent the convenience store said they’d be on alert until Bumpers, who police say is a regular in the area, is caught.

“That’s pretty brave to just go up to somebody’s car and just be spraying it. It’s like he didn’t have any regard for life even his own,” one customer said.

“Wow. Oh he set himself on fire. He’s stupid. He’s crazy,” said another customer after watching the video.

The arson happened in July, but police are still searching for Bumpers.

If you know where he is, call CrimeStoppers 704-334-1600 or drop an anonymous tip to the P3 tips app. There is a cash reward of up to $1,000 for any information leading to an arrest.

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