Man charged in Providence cruiser burning pleads guilty

The site across from the Providence Place Mall where a Providence Police cruiser was burned during rioting June 1-2, 2020. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

The Associated Press

A man authorities say helped torch a Providence police cruiser last summer during a night of vandalism in the city pleaded guilty Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

Nicholas Scaglione, 31, of Cranston, sprayed a flammable liquid into the cruiser, causing a small fire to intensify just moments after he and others unsuccessfully tried to flip the vehicle onto its side, the U.S. attorney’s office in Providence said in a statement.

The cruiser was destroyed in the early morning hours of June 2 in what former Gov. Gina Raimondo called an “organized attack on the community” outside the Providence Place mall.

He pleaded guilty to malicious attempt to damage or destroy a vehicle and faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on June 16. He faced a federal charge because Providence police receive federal funding.

A voicemail seeking comment was left Thursday with Scaglione’s attorney.

The FBI released surveillance images and video from the scene which led to tips from people who know Scaglione. Police reviewed cellphone messages in which he admitted to helping burn the cruiser and expressed animosity toward law enforcement.

Rhode Island authorities have said Scaglione was part of a “mob” bent on destruction that coincided with, but was separate from the nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Charges against the other suspect are pending.