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A Notorious Arsonist Arrested Again After Setting Fire to a Patrol Car

SPRING HILL – Fire Rescue responded to the scene of a VEHICLE FIRE , Wednesday, that turned out to be a Hernando County Sheriff's Office Patrol Car.

Numerous deputies responded to Northcliffe Apartments located at the corner of Northcliffe Blvd and Portillo Rd, just before 5:00 p.m., where they discovered an agency SUV with fire damage to the rear of the vehicle. Deputies immediately suspected arson after finding evidence that an accelerant was used to ignite the blaze.

Shortly after the investigation began, deputies received a tip from a witness who said she knows the suspect and where he lives.

Within minutes of receiving the tip, deputies located and arrested 48-year-old Anthony Thomas Tarduno near the scene of fire. Tarduno is no stranger to law enforcement or setting fires to vehicles.

According to reports, Tarduno was arrested in 2012 for setting fire to then-Hernando County School Board candidate Gus Guadagnino's Infiniti SUV, while it was parked behind a popular bar on Spring Hill Drive. Tarduno spent just over 3 years of a 5-year sentence for Arson.

Prior to that incident, Tarduno was arrested for Arson in 1995 and again in 1998. Tarduno sentenced 13 months and 5 years, respectively, for those charges.

Tarduno has also spent time behind bars for Grand Theft Auto, Burglary, and Battery.

It is unknown why Tarduno set fire to the patrol car; if it was random or if he targeted the deputy specifically.

Tarduno is currently behind bars on a $30,000 bond for 2-counts of Arson. Sources say the second count is for damage to the building caused by the fire, but that has not been confirmed.


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