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Owner Of Multiple Texas Dealerships Sure Seems To Love Fire

The Austin Fire Department believes a man who founded Continental Automotive Group, Dorsey Bryan Hardeman, has set four fires in the city over the past few months. While considered innocent until proven guilty, many in the community are shocked by the allegations.

McLaren lit on fire with pizza boxes.

The man was first arrested and charged with arson and burglary after someone set a former bike shop on fire back on February 25. However, investigators were already zeroing in on him for another fire set on February 20.

That would’ve been bad enough, but investigators then connected him to two more fires, one set on February 17 (at the same location as on February 20) and the other on December 25, 2023. He’s also accused of starting a fire on March 8.

While an accusation is one thing, establishing motive is key to pursuing an investigation. Investigators found that all the properties Hardeman allegedly set fire he was interested in or was trying to purchase at the time.

For example, at one property two mobile homes which were impeding a sale or development of the land were both set ablaze. The other mobile homes had already been moved, so those holdouts were forced off the land.

Investigators say they have surveillance footage connecting Hardeman to all four fires. It sounds like he allegedly tried wearing disguises to throw police off, but they were able to identify him anyway.

Hardeman’s attorney provided an official statement to the Austin American-Statesman: “We have had no access to the investigation facts or findings at this time, so it would be premature for us to comment. We are hopeful to get access to the State’s file to begin working on Mr. Hardeman’s case as soon as we are permitted to get the information from the District Attorney.”

Continental Automotive Group operates six dealerships in the Austin area.  

Image via Austin Police Department/CBS Austin

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