Santa Monica Police Investigate Arson Of Alley Christmas Tree, Dumpster

Monday, 20 Jan 2014, 8:48:00 AM

Tim Broughton

Santa Monica police are continuing to investigate suspected back-to-back arson fires that occurred on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 8.

Officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called out to the alley located at the rear of the 1400 block of 14th Street at 6:10 pm on this day after they had received a report of a Christmas tree that was engulfed in flames.

Upon arrival the officers discovered that a witness had already extinguished the flames prior to the arrival of any of the emergency services.

The witness stated that an Asian man had been responsible for starting the fire.

As the officers were at the location another call came in telling them that there had been a report of a possible arson at the rear of the 1200 block of 15th Street, so the officers hopped back into their car and sped to that location.

They arrived to find that it was a dumpster fire and that the Santa Monica Fire Department had already extinguished the flames.

The officers spoke with some witnesses at the scene and one said that the fire had been started by a skinny black man wearing a dark vest and dark hat, another witness described the suspect as a white man about 5'8" tall, wearing a red T-shirt and a brown vest.

A third witness said the suspect was simply a man.

The descriptions were broadcast to officers in the area, and even though officers questioned many people matching the descriptions of different suspects that they were given by different witnesses, the culprit, or culprits have not been located.

Editor’s Note: These reports are part of a regular police coverage series entitled “Alert Police Blotter” (APB), which injects some minor editorial into certain police activities in Santa Monica. Not all of The Mirror’s coverage of incidents involving police are portrayed in this manner. More serious crimes and police-related activities are regularly reported without editorial in the pages of the Santa Monica Mirror and its website, smmirror.com.

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