Man Allegedly Starts Fire at Leominster Bakery After Getting Locked Out of His Car

When a 911 operator told a man who was locked out of his car that local police and fire officials would not help him, investigators say he had a bizarre and dangerous reaction.

CBS Boston reported that officials say 24-year-old Joel Valerio locked himself out of his car in Leominster early Tuesday morning and went to a nearby convenience store to ask for a hanger. When that option didn’t pan out, he called 911 just before 1 a.m.

But Leominster’s policy is to not help with lockouts unless it is an emergency situation, and the operator told Valerio there was no one to help him, according to the report. Investigators said that Valerio, frustrated with the operator’s response, took criminal action in order to retaliate.


From CBS Boston:

Rebuffed by police and fire department policy which calls for helping with locked cars only in an emergency — such as when a child is trapped — Valerio is then captured by surveillance cameras walking around for a couple of hours.

He is seen fishing in a dumpster or two — before strolling over to the rear of the bakery. Roughly 40 minutes later the place erupts in flames.

“Our detective believes he was angry that police and fire wouldn’t help him unlock his car,’’ says Lt. Goldman. “And so he set a fire because of that.’’

Valerio is now in police custody after turning himself in on Tuesday. The report said he claims he did not set the fire, but police still plan to charge him with felony arson.

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