Serial toilet arsonist wanted in SF

December 23, 2008 12:52:32 PM PST
An arsonist targeting portable toilets in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood has struck a twelfth time, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

A plastic outhouse used by construction workers was found aflame at about 12:45 a.m. today near the intersection of Union and Taylor streets, the latest in a series of incidents that began in November, fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The fire department had earlier reported at least seven similar arson incidents, but Talmadge today revised the figure to 12, all in the vicinity of Russian Hill, she said.

"They're just somehow starting them on fire without anybody really witnessing this," Talmadge said.

Some have burned to the ground, Talmadge said. She was not sure if the suspect or suspects are using any kind of accelerant.

Talmadge said arson investigators have been visiting the area and advising construction workers to keep their portable toilets away from homes and trees, and to lock them at night.

"The real message that we would like to get out is, if there's a porta-potty in your neighborhood, just be a little more cognizant of what you're seeing, pay a little more attention to who's around in the area," especially late at night or early in the morning, Talmadge said.


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