Local News

Feb 2, 2010 1:49 AM by Ariel Wesler

Neighbors fired up about Lompoc arsonist

Lompoc fire investigators are on the lookout for a serial arsonist who may be linked to as many as 30 fires in the last two years.

The most recent fire happened just before 3:30 Saturday morning in the 400 block of South "H" Street in Lompoc.

A man says he woke up and found his Volkswagen bug up in flames.

The incident comes just a week after investigators say a car, boat, and mattress were also destroyed on purpose.

This 1969 Volkwagon bug is the latest target in a series of arson crimes in Lompoc.

"Why personal property? That was my car. That was the first car I ever bought. I just put a carpet kit in it. I had new speakers for it. All that stuff was inside of it. It all got burned up. It's not coming back. I'm not getting it back," said Daryl Garbiso of Lompoc.

The flames, so widespread, they also burnt this man's mini van--parked next to it.

"It melted the hub cap," said Jesus Ruiz of Lompoc.

Cinged the tailight, cracked the rear bumper, and damaged the side bumper totaling a large chunk of change

"That's 2,212 dollars," Ruiz said.

Despite the damage, it's not keeping him off the road. He uses the car everyday to pick up his grandson from school

"I'm glad it's still driveable because that's all I have to drive, Ruiz said.

Just last week, someone set a mattress on fire, which also destroyed a boat and a car nearby.

"It's very evident that they have no regard for life safety and that's our biggest concern is that he's setting fires near inhabited dwellings," said Lompoc Battalion Chief Stan Hart.

Fire investigators say they are looking into one possible suspect and warn Lompoc residents to keep a watchful eye during the late night and early morning hours.

"Especially, lookout at vehicles that are abandoned or in disrepair. These seem to be the targets that he's using," Hart added.

If arrested, the arsonist would likely face felony charges.

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