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Press Release

Queens Man Charged In Connection With Arson Of An NYPD Vehicle In Manhattan

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John B. DeVito, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Daniel A. Nigro, the Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department (“FDNY”), announced today the arrest of VICTOR A. SANCHEZ-SANTA in connection with his attempts to destroy a police car in midtown Manhattan.  SANCHEZ-SANTA was arrested this morning and will be presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate James L. Cott later today.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  “As alleged, the defendant selected a clearly marked NYPD vehicle, walked up beside it, started a fire under the vehicle, and fled the scene.  In allegedly doing so, he maliciously targeted law enforcement.  Arson is also a threat to more than its immediate victim, with the potential to destroy and terrify far beyond the place where a fire is set.  We have the quick response of members of the NYPD, FDNY, and ATF to thank for controlling the fire and identifying the defendant so he can face the significant charge for his alleged crime.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito said:  “The use of fire as a weapon places our communities at risk and greatly endangers our citizens.  ATF and our partners will vigorously investigate and bring those responsible to justice by means of the Strategic Explosive Arson Response (SEAR) Task Force.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “Torching an NYPD vehicle, as alleged, is not just an isolated crime but a threat to all New Yorkers.  The hard work of our detectives and law enforcement partners in this case ensures there will be justice.”

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said:  “Arson is a callous act that senselessly puts the lives of New Yorkers and first responders in danger.  The excellent teamwork of our Fire Marshals, the NYPD, and ATF continues to seek justice against those who use fire to harm others and destroy property.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1]:

On June 9, 2020, at approximately 1:20 a.m., SANCHEZ-SANTA stopped his car beside a marked NYPD vehicle on West 42nd Street in Manhattan.  He got out of his car, took a cloth glove in his hand and held the glove to a flame until it ignited.  He then put the burning glove underneath the NYPD vehicle, and got back into his car, leaving the glove burning beneath the police car.

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SANCHEZ-SANTA, 19, of Queens, New York, is charged with one count of arson, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Strategic Explosive and Arson Response Task Force of the ATF, the NYPD, and the FDNY. 

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Josiah Pertz is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated June 18, 2020

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-127