Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Police Nab Suspected Serial Arsonist|
By Jorge Casuso
January 22, 2014 -- Santa Monica police have arrested a man suspected of setting fires to discarded Christmas trees and dumpsters at ten locations in the heart of the city.
Some of the fires -- which police said were “geographically located at various locations in the center of the city” -- damaged three apartment buildings.
“At one of the complexes, the fire had burned into a ground-level garage and was threatening to burn further up, into the living area of the complex,” said Sgt. Jay Moroso, the police department spokesman.
Another arson fire caused major damage to a car parked at a car dealership, Mororo said.
The fires were set between December 30 and January 8.
The suspected arsonist, who was arrested January 9, has been identified as Sihota Balbinder Singh, a 54-year-old homeless man.
Undercover officers were deployed in the areas of the arsons as officers and detectives “worked diligently” in an attempt to identify and catch the suspect, Moroso said.
“Their efforts paid off when the undercover officers’ attention was drawn to a man who was seen flicking a lighter several times for no apparent reason and acting suspiciously in the area where the arsons were taking place,” Moroso said.
The subject was detained and a detective who responded to the scene was able to “identify him as the arsonist, based on investigative work he had already completed on the case,” Moroso said.
Two other witnesses were also questioned while Singh was detained, and they implicated him in several arsons, he said.
The District Attorney’s office has filed four counts of felony arson against the subject.
Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is asked to call Detective D’Andrea at (310) 458-6679.
Anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or www.lacrimestoppers.org. To text an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers, view their webpage for detailed instructions.
Tipsters who provide information that leads to an arrest or conviction are eligible to receive a reward of up to $1, 000.
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