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Man in town for chess lessons has car torched in south St. Louis

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Ben Gonnella woke up Monday morning to a bad smell and the glow of fire outside his window. His Toyota was engulfed in flames outside the house on Morganford in south St. Louis.

He thought the battery exploded but when he checked the surveillance cameras, he was shocked by what he saw.

“We checked the footage and we see this guy just run right over pour the gasoline, three seconds done, inferno,” he explained.

Gonnella lives in Syracuse, NY but is visiting St. Louis to take lessons at the renowned St. Louis Chess Club. He says he has no idea who would do this.

“This definitely is not indicative of the Midwest or St. Louis at all. This is the action of an absolute madman, a crazy lunatic,” he said.

He filed a police report and St. Louis police tell News4 they are investigating.