Unhappy Trucker Torches City Hall

The Herzliya truck driver had been parking his truck at the corner of Sokolov and Ruppin streets in the city for years. Several months ago, however, he found that his favorite parking spot had become a no-parking zone, following the completion of the pedestrian mall in the city center, but he continued parking there anyway.

City parking inspectors apparently didn't care about the "historic connection" between the truck driver and his parking spot, and they began ticketing his truck every time they found it in a space where parking was now prohibited.

The 52-year-old truck driver's fury over the tickets allegedly got the better of him. He was arrested yesterday on suspicion of setting fire Tuesday night to the offices of the enforcement division of the Herzliya Municipality. The offices, which were housed in trailers on Hasharon Street in the city, were totally destroyed, but no one was injured. One witness reported seeing the suspect arrive at the scene, torch the premises and flee the scene in a passenger car. The witness also reportedly saw part of the vehicle's license number.

An hour later, police tracked down the person whom they believed to be the owner of the car, based on the license plate, and questioned him. He told police that he had lent the car to a friend. When police arrived at the Sokolov Street home of the friend - the truck driver - they found a hooded sweatshirt that smelled of gasoline. The hood of the car, which was parked outside, was still warm.

They detained the driver, who initially denied involvement in the blaze but under interrogation confessed to the arson as revenge against the the parking inspectors. The suspect was taken to the scene of the fire, where he reenacted the crime for officers. He was brought before a judge for a remand hearing late last night, during which police asked that he remain in custody.