String of arsons taking place in Berkeley

July 20, 2010 1:59:42 PM PDT
Berkeley police are looking at surveillance pictures and asking for the public's help in tracking down the firebug behind a string of arsons. Three blazes overnight have brought the total to ten since Friday.

A surveillance video caught two young men setting fire to a recycling bin on Sam's Market near Telegraph. The fire could have caused a lot of problems to the market.

"It would have been easy to break the glass and then the fire would have come inside and then it would not have been easy to stop it," said Fred Ayyad of Sam's Market.

One woman in the neighborhood shared her thoughts on the 10th fire since Friday.

"It's kind of scary because I live right down on Telegraph and I can see the fire from where I live. It's kind of exciting, but scary," said Berkeley resident Debbie Lei.

Investigators say most, if not all the fires are likely the work of the same person of persons because of the common thread to all the fires.

"This suspect or suspects is pushing a city of Berkeley recycling bin, which has cardboard and paper in it. Lighting that particular bin which he or she finds and then shoving it up against something, either a car or a building," said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

The arsonist pushed a burning recycling bin next to a motorcycle. But motorcycles and bins are not the main concern.

"There is the possibility if a suspect or suspects push something on fire up against a building, then we may have a very serious, if in fact tragic situation," said Kusmiss.

Police are increasing patrols in the areas where the fires have been spotted.


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