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Man Nabbed After Setting Stolen Vehicle On Fire In Northern Westchester, Police Say

The area of the vehicle fire.
The area of the vehicle fire. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A 26-year-old man was arrested for allegedly setting fire to a stolen vehicle in a wooded area and was badly burned in the process. 

The incident took place in Westchester County when Yorktown Police received numerous 911 calls from residents on Baldwin Avenue reporting a vehicle on fire in the woods in Yorktown.

Police and Yorktown Heights firefighters responded to the scene and found a fully-involved car fire, police said.

The responding officers quickly identified the vehicle as being stolen out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and suspected the vehicle had been intentionally set on fire, the department said.

Officers began searching the area for a suspect, at the same time two Yorktown officers were conducting an all-terrain vehicle training on the department's UTV in the wooded area behind police headquarters. 

The two received news of the burning vehicle and headed to the scene. While en route they came a man walking in the woods who had visible burns on his hands and arms, police said.

The man, identified as Michael Novelli, of Briarcliff, was detained and later arrested.

A further investigation found that Novelli was driving the vehicle, which had been stolen from the Fort Lauderdale Airport before he set it on fire behind 1870 Baldwin Road and fled the scene. 

When detained, Novelli was also allegedly in possession of heroin, police said.

He was charged with felony arson, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, Aug. 6.

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