SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A man, described as a convicted arsonist, has been arrested for alleged parole violations in the same block where a series of 11 trash bin arson fires have been reported since August 4.
Police are considering Tommy Wayne Burke, 43, a “person of interest” in the dumpster fires, which occurred between the dates of August 4-12, between the 100 and 500 blocks of North Sullivan Street, according to Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
Burke was arrested around 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday and is being held without bail for the alleged parole violations. He has not yet been booked in connection with the fires.
Burke previously served time for setting five trash bin fires behind businesses in Santa Ana in February 2010, and was released from prison in May, according to Cpl. Bertagna. Burke pleaded guilty in January 2012 and was sentenced to six years and four months. However, he was given credit for 1,364 days already served.
Burke’s fire-setting spree started on February 11, 2010, with a pair of fires in trash bins behind a Ross store, located on South Bristol Street in Santa Ana. Seven days after those blazes, Burke returned to the same location, at the same time — around 11:00 p.m. — and set two more trash-bin fires.
On Feb. 23, 2010, Burke set another trash-bin blaze behind a KFC restaurant in Santa Ana at about 1:20 a.m., but he was arrested while walking away from the scene. Bertagna suggests Burke was believed to be homeless at the time, and indicated that he may still be a transient.
In the recent series of arsons, trash bins have been torched on both sides of North Sullivan Street in a commercial area, which consists primarily of small businesses. The most recent blaze occurred on Monday, after the arsonist pulled the bin away from the businesses it was closest to., according to Santa Ana Police Sgt. Bill Nimmo.
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