Decades-Old Grudge Leads to Torched Cars at Indiana Dealership

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
decades old grudge leads to torched cars at indiana dealership

We've heard of holding grudges, but what happened at an Indiana car dealership recently has set our minds on fire.

Fort Wayne is where 79-year-old Dewey Frederick was apparently sufficiently fired-up by a 1986 sale that he lit four cars across two car lots owned by the O'Daniel Automotive Group ablaze.

Frederick purchased a Jeep from O'Daniel way back in the heyday of hair metal and claimed it had a bad engine and that the dealer group never rectified the situation. His long-simmering grudge led to $82,800 in damage, with a 2019 Jeep Compass, 2020 Jeep Cherokee, and 2013 GMC Acadia being torched. It all started with a road flare dropped into the Compass's fuel-filler line.

Apparently not content, Frederick drove to the other lot and dropped another road flare into a Pontiac Solstice, cutting the roadster's roof to do so.

Frederick's anger didn't just flare up after years on the back burner -- he apparently super-glued the locks on his Jeep way back in the day.

According to the Washington Post, Frederick was "charged Saturday with four counts of arson and now faces eight to 48 years in prison if convicted of all four felonies."

He also apparently said that "it was time for the chickens to return to roost".

Frederick's own return to the dealership appears to have ended with him getting roasted.

[Image: Mikbiz/]

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2 of 27 comments
  • Bobbysirhan Bobbysirhan on Aug 02, 2022

    Considering the rate of employee turnover at a typical car dealer, I doubt the parties responsible for ripping off the arsonist were in any way impacted by the crimes. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but this one was too much, too late. O'Daniel Automotive Group makes no mention of ownership on its websites, suggesting that it is just another hedge-fund-held entity meant to provide the illusion of competition. It would have been much different 36 years ago.

  • Hifi Hifi on Aug 08, 2022

    Isn't one of the main arguments in favor of the dealer franchise by the NADA... customer service? Right.

    This guy held a grudge for decades. To some extent, most of us are.

  • FreedMike Can the final last call edition be the Secretary Special, with a V6 and a vinyl roof?
  • FreedMike I’ve never heard of this so I’ll have no problem not attending.
  • ToolGuy As I understand it, the Toyota Prius basically lasts forever because the engine gets a gentle duty cycle and the battery gets babied. This seems like the opposite of that.[Impressive tech, not for me, but then neither is the Prius.]
  • Dusterdude Excellent work ! Your stories are always linguistically interesting . Even if you weren’t writing about a quirky car on a long and adventuresome journey - I know your write up would still be interesting ! ( I also have a Soft spot for large cars - as my daily driver is a 2000 Chrysler Concorde )
  • MaintenanceCosts There have always been just two reasons to buy AMG cars: the menacing, hard-edged V8 warble, and the styling with subtle shapes but perfectly aggressive details. This is missing both of those things: the styling has gotten cartoonishly aggressive, and the engine will sound like a fart-can Civic. I don't understand why I should want it.