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Connecticut firefighter torched recovered SUV because minorities may have driven it: cops

A firefighter in Connecticut torched his SUV after it was recovered by cops because it may have been driven by minorities, police said.

Matthew David Bittner, a 38-year-old volunteer fireman for Stepney Fire Department in Monroe, is facing charges including first-degree arson and insurance fraud in connection with a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe that was registered to his girlfriend, the Connecticut Post reported.

The SUV had been initially reported stolen to cops in Monroe on Oct. 21. One day later, police in Bridgeport found the vehicle and released it to Bittner, who repeatedly told investigators he no longer wanted the stolen ride because he wasn’t sure where it had been, the newspaper reported.

Police in Monroe then found the SUV fully engulfed in flames in the driveway of a home on Oct. 23. During an interview with investigators, Bittner said he had stored the vehicle at his landscaping business in Newtown, where someone had stolen it again, according to police.

Bittner, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, allegedly sent text messages to a friend and his girlfriend about who may have stolen his SUV, including racially charged remarks about Bridgeport residents.

In one message, Bittner suggested that a wall be built around Bridgeport to “keep the animals from getting out,” police said.

The SUV was registered to Bittner’s girlfriend, Melissa Roy, who declined comment when reached Tuesday by The Post.

Bittner, who was also charged with tampering with evidence and making a false statement, is set to be arraigned in Bridgeport on Jan. 2.

Bittner’s friend and alleged accomplice, Joseph Bogdanyi, 32, is also expected to be arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree arson and making a false statement next month, the newspaper reported.

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