Three more East Bay cars torched

November 9, 2009 5:34:23 PM PST
Police in two East Bay cities need your help to stop an arsonist who has torched even more cars, bringing the new total to 14 vehicles. All of them were parked in the El Sobrante-Richmond Hills. Investigators don't have a lot of leads and neighbors are increasingly nervous.

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All that's left are the torched out shells and they still sit parked on the streets of a quiet neighborhood in the El Sobrante-Richmond Hills.

That serves as a reminder to neighbors that there's an arsonist on the loose.

"It hits way close to home and I hope it doesn't continue going down the block," said El Sobrante resident Jordan Meyn.

Fourteen vehicles have been destroyed so far -- 11 last Wednesday and three more over the weekend. They are all within about three miles of each other.

Investigators say all the car fires were random. None of the car owners actually knew each other. The only connection is that the fires took place late at night or early in the morning and the fires took place near the owners' homes.

"My husband heard a big bang and he came out and looked and saw it was blazing and told me to get up and call 911," said torched car owner Elaine Ziem.

The scorched trees show just how close the flames came to Ziem's home that night. Investigators told her whoever the arsonist is, the person likely searched for combustible materials inside the car to keep the blaze going.

"They found a burnt manual behind the passenger's seat," said Ziem.

So far, there's only a vague description of the suspect: a man in a black hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants.

"We don't have enough to name anyone as a suspect at this time or a person of interest," said Sgt. Bisa French from the Richmond Police Department.

Authorities have stepped up patrols, but they have few leads.

"When you have cars that are in driveways or very close to homes there's potential for the home to be threatened. When you have people who are in their homes asleep or things of that nature it produces a different type of risk," said Rico Rincon from the Richmond Police Department.

That's a dangerous, potentially deadly risk.

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