AUSTIN – Fire investigators have charged an Austin teen with arson after they say he set fire to a stolen sedan at Connally High in May.
According to the June 14 arrest affidavit for Matthew Plocica, 17, the Pflugerville Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in the Connally High School parking lot around 4:10 a.m. May 3. The sedan, later identified as a Kia Spectra, was extinguished and damage was estimated at $2,500. The affidavit notes a sedan was “seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed,” and that the fire crew initially determined the fire to be accidental.
On May 11, AFD investigators were notified by Austin police that they pulled over a Nissan Maxima with Plocica, another adult and two juveniles on May 3 because their vehicle matched the description of the sedan seen fleeing the Connally parking lot. The affidavit states APD officers saw a burned blue paper town in plain sight in the car.
According to the affidavit, fire investigators interviewed one of the juveniles on May 27 and learned that the four had broken into several vehicles on May 2 and stole a Kia Spectra. Investigators say the juveniles were “drifting” the Kia in the Connally High parking lot while Plocica and the fourth person were in the Nissan. The juvenile said they lost control of the Kia and crashed into a light pole, then the four decided to burn the car to get rid of fingerprints.
The affidavit says investigators interviewed Plocica and the other adult on June 1. Plocica initially denied setting the fire, but the affidavit states he later admitted to setting the fire by first attempting to set the fuel tank on fire, and then setting the driver side floor board on fire. Investigators say Plocica thought he was “helping somebody out” by setting the fire.
Plocica has been charged with felony arson. The affidavit states his bond was set at $15,000, but he is not listed in the Travis County Jail as of early Wednesday afternoon. The arson affidavit did not state if Plocica or anyone else involved faces charges related to the theft of the vehicle.