SANTA MONICA—A 54-year-old homeless man, Balbinder Singh Sihota, has been arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department on January 9 as the main suspect responsible for at least 10 arson fires in the city.
The fires extended over a 10-day period beginning on December 30, 2013. The general vicinity of the arsons extended between “14th and 17th Street and then Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd in the alleys,” said Sergeant Moroso of the Santa Monica Police Department.
The acts of arson include lighting trash dumpsters and discarded Christmas trees, which have led to flame damage at three apartment complexes, as well as significant destruction to a car parked at a car dealership. Sgt. Moroso informed Canyon News via email that no one was injured as a result of the fires.
The police department positioned undercover officers in the localities where the arsons had taken place in an attempt to catch the perpetrator or perpetrators involved. Upon witnessing suspicious activity involving a man flicking his lighter, the undercover officer arrested the suspect. A detective, who was investigating the case, was able to respond to the scene and identify the suspect as the arsonist. Two other witnesses at the time of detention connected Sihota to several arsons.
The District Attorney’s office has charged Sihota with four counts of felony arson. He is currently being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility on a $465,000 bail. He is expected back in court on January 28.