DALY CITY - A man who lit a vehicle on fire outside the Daly City Department of Motor Vehicles office in 2012 in anger over his towed car pleaded no contest Wednesday to a felony arson charge and was sentenced to three years in prison, San Mateo County prosecutors said.

Hugo Carranza, 66, was ordered released after Wednesday's sentencing because of credit for time already served in jail following the April 23, 2012, arson outside the DMV building at 1500 Sullivan Ave., prosecutors said.

Carranza had his car towed in October 2011 because of expired registration despite his pleas that he needed the vehicle for his housecleaning business, according to the district attorney's office.

He later went to the Daly City DMV and paid some, but not all, of the fines and could not get the car released, prosecutors said.

Apparently angry at the DMV and the government in general, Carranza went back to the office with a bottle of fuel and poured it on a 2008 Cadillac that he thought belonged to a DMV employee, prosecutors said.

Carranza then lit the car on fire. The flames spread to a nearby Honda before a DMV employee grabbed an extinguisher and put out the blaze, prosecutors said.

After police responded, Carranza walked up to an officer and turned himself in, prosecutors said.

His defense attorney had expressed doubts about Carranza's mental competence during the case, but a judge ruled the defendant was competent to stand trial prior to Wednesday's plea.


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No one was injured in the arson incident, which was captured on security cameras outside the DMV office, prosecutors said.



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