LA CRESCENTA (CBSLA.com) — Detectives said security video proves a recent fire at a La Cresenta towing company was deliberately set, and believe the vehicles that were burned were targeted because they were being held as evidence in crimes.
“It’s just so heartbreaking that anything like this can happen here,” Jacci Present, the owner of Crescenta Valley Tow, told CBS2’s Rachel Kim on Thursday.
Present said soon after the fire at her business during the early morning hours of Feb. 16, Sgt. John Hanson — an arson investigator from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — determined this was indeed arson. He said it’s based on security video showing someone in a car casing the tow yard then backing into a parking space, and grainy video that he said shows two suspects getting out of the car, grabbing something from the trunk, then forcing their way in through a gate.
“It appears from the video they were carrying some type of gas can,” Hanson said. “They forced their way through the roof of the business, poured some gas into the bay and ignited that with some kind of flammable device.”
Hanson said a witness helped them come up with a composite sketch of one of the suspects. Investigators also have a description of the car the men were in.
The cars that were destroyed or damaged weren’t just any cars. Investigators believe the suspects targeted the police evidence impound section at the tow lot used by the Sheriff’s Department., Glendale police and the California Highway Patrol.
“We theorize that there may have been something they were trying to get rid of,” Hanson said. “For the chain of evidence of a lot of our crimes, we need to maintain that so it’s very important.”
“I hope that it’s a good sketch and I hope that we can find the person,” Present added. “I hope they get him.”