FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – With a thirst for revenge three decades in the making, Dewey Fredrick claimed he torched four vehicles at two used car lots over the course of a summer morning last year because he’d been sold a lemon in 1986.
“It was time for the chickens to return to roost,” Fredrick told investigators at the time.
Now, they may be coming to roost for him.
The 80-year-old will likely be sentenced to three years in prison and 12 years on various forms of probation that will require him to be on medication as part of a plea agreement he made with Allen County prosecutors Wednesday.
Fort Wayne police arrested Fredrick on four counts of arson after someone used road flares to light three Jeeps on fire at an O’Daniel lot and then use another flares to light up a Pontiac convertible at another O’Daniel lot.
Surveillance cameras picked up Fredrick driving a 2002 white Chevrolet S10 four-door pickup truck to one of the O’Daniel lots at about 1:15 a.m. on July 17. Once there, Fredrick walked around a 2019 Jeep Compass on the lot, stopped at the passenger side and opened the fuel door, according to Allen Superior Court documents.
He then placed the burning end of a road flare in the fuel tube, court documents said.
Within minutes, flames engulfed the Jeep. The fire became so intense it spread to a 2013 GMC Acadia and a 2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited parked on either side of the Compass, according to court documents.
All three vehicles were a total loss.
Then Fredrick drove to a different O’Daniel lot where he took a knife and cut an opening in the roof of a 2008 Pontiac Solstice Base convertible, court documents said. He dropped an ignited flare into that vehicle, which sparked a fire that totaled that car, as well.
All told, the fires caused nearly $75,000 worth of damage, court documents said.
Upon his arrest, Fredrick told investigators he was upset he did not get to see the fires happen. When investigators showed him surveillance video, he identified himself as the one in the white pickup truck driving to and from the O’Daniel lots.
When he saw the Jeep on fire, stated in court documents:
“Oh, that (expletive) was cooking, wasn’t it?”
When shown the damage to the convertible, he said in court documents:
“That’s all the damage it did?”
“(Fredrick) then laughed when told they were not happy about that fire, either,” an investigator wrote in court documents.
Fredrick claimed he bought a Jeep from O’Daniel in 1986 that had a bad motor and the dealership refused to make things right, according to court documents.
“(Fredrick) also stated that shortly after he purchased the Jeep in 1986 he went to an O’Daniel lot and placed Loctite, Super Glue and another accelerant in the door locks of several cars on the lot,” an investigator wrote in court documents.
Fredrick’s plea agreement calls for special conditions on his probation after he serves his three years in prison.
The first two years of probation will be on Community Control home detention, followed by four years of active adult probation and six years on unsupervised probation – as long as he maintains good behavior and stays on medication.
Fredrick is scheduled to be sentenced May 30.