Radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a Los Angeles Hummer dealership that destroyed 20 SUVs and caused damage of more than R7 million.
Radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a Los Angeles Hummer dealership that destroyed 20 SUVs and caused damage of more than R7 million.
ELF issued an unsigned e-mail about the fires in West Covina, California, that burned the massive luxury SUVs, which are reputed to return some of the world’s worst fuel consumption figures. The e-mail reportedly called the alleged arson fires "ELF actions."
Fire raged through a Hummer dealership in Los Angeles on Friday morning, and graffiti was spraypainted on many of the damaged vehicles, with slogans such as Fat, Lazy Americans. Dozens of SUVs were vandalised at three other dealerships, prompting the FBI to investigate the incidents as acts of domestic terrorism.
Most of the 20 vehicles that were destroyed were Hummer H2s. Another 20 vehicles were badly damaged and a separate blaze caved in a warehouse roof.
SUVs at dealerships in nearby cities of Arcadia, Duarte and Monrovia were also vandalised, though there were no other fires.
Among the slogans written on the sides and hoods of vehicles were “I love Pollution and American Wastefulness”. ELF was written on at least one vehicle.
The underground group has claimed responsibility for a slew of arson attacks against commercial entities that members say damage the environment. It is suspected in a multimillion-rand arson fire on August 1 that destroyed a five-story apartment complex under construction in San Diego, though an ELF e-mail claimed the group had not been in contact with those responsible in that case.
The FBI said it was investigating the dealership fire as domestic terrorism, a West Covina police chief said.
General Motors spokesman Brian Akre called the blaze a "reprehensible criminal act" and said the Detroit-based company, whose brands include Hummer and Chevrolet, was thankful that the fire didn't result in injuries.
"If this was some kind of misguided attempt to make a political statement, those responsible should know that committing arson and putting property and people in danger is not the way to gain public support for their position," Akre said.