Man arrested for setting cars on fire on Long Island after victim fights him off

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ELMONT, Long Island — A man was arrested after he was found setting cars on fire in Elmont overnight Thursday.

"This guy just went on a rampage I guess. He got six cars I heard," resident Carl Ford said.

The last time the city saw a neighborhood torched like this Ford said was in the Bronx back in the seventies "before the blackout."

But this is 2016  on Stone Street in Elmont. The only thing identifiable about one particular car is the four doors — it used to be a Mercedes SUV. Owner Zachariah Thomas said he saw his car light up the sky early Thursday morning. Thomas' nephew Towbin said his uncle wishes it would have simply disappeared.

"He said he is fine with stealing his car, but when it is put on fire it is worst," Towbin said.

A total of five cars were lit up. Ford's Infinity was one of them.

"Last week I lost my mother on a Friday and this just put some salt in a nasty wound. Especially since the SUV was a symbol of a memorable moment in his life," Ford said. "This was her engagement gift when we got engaged."

As for the frame of mind of the pyromaniac behind all of this?

"You got to be sick in some type of way. I'm assuming some kind of mental illness," Ford said.

A man that stopped the alleged arsonist described the suspect to PIX 11 News. The man, who did not want to provide his name, shared with PIX11 News what he told the suspect after he saw him walk away from his car with what he thought was something out of his trunk

"I asked him to give back whatever he stole," the man said.

"He attacked me and I defended myself," he then said after the suspect didn't comply.

The man knocked him out cold.

Police had no trouble arresting the suspect after that. Late Thursday, the Nassau County Police Department announced they had arrested neighborhood resident Jaun Perez, 36, in connection with the attacks.