Long story short, I'm pulling an all-nighter on a work project, so just before I go to bed to get a few hours sleep , I go to my living room window to smoke a cigarette (so the smoke can go outside, not in my apartment) and I hear then see this guy below me running away in a very suspicious manner, it's like 6:OO AM in the morning, so I'm like, what the hell was that? Do I call 911 to report a suspicious man running away or not? This is LA and that kind of suspicious activity call ain't exactly gonna send the cavalry charging or anything, and then I think about the car fire we had a few months ago that happened at about the same hour in the building next to mine, and also my building manager telling me at the time that the neighbohood had a rash of car fires for some time now, and as I'm putting 2 and 2 together, I smell smoke, and start hearing a commotion, and the direction the guy was running from was where the fire was. Fortunately, unlike the last fire which was real serious, this one got put out quick, before the firemen even showed.
So I'm like, "I saw the creep" and glad because this guy needs to get caught. So I tell the firemen and they tell me to wait, so on the chance this guy likes to watch the firemen work, I walk around looking for the guy, but no luck.
Finally, the top fire guy calls me over, takes ny name and #, and asks how I saw the guy, so I tell him, and then he asks if I saw him set the fire, and I say no, and then he's like "well there ain't much we can do then" and he walks off and I haven't even had the chance to describe the guy... Well it's been three days now, and nobody from the arson squad or anything has contacted me....
So I'm starting to get pissed now, I start doing research on serial arsonist, and as it turns out, like 87% have a felony record and live near where they set the fires, so I'm thinking, with my description and the likelyhood this guy already has a sheet, this might be the big break to solve this case. IF I can ID the guy from local felons, and I got a REAL GOOD look at the guy, they can question him and tell them there's a witness who knew what he was wearing and can describe in detail the odd way he fled the scene. I say odd because he didn't take the fastest way out to the street, he ran a longer way to exit the area in a more closed off, rarely used exit.
This might be enough to get a confession even though I "didn't see him set the fire"....
But so far nothing.... I'll give them a few more days to contact me, but this creep has to get caught. Besides the property damage, he could get somebody killed some day. That fire a few months ago was bad. Took out three cars, did building damage, if one of those gas tanks blew, the tenants trying to put it out could've been killed.
Plus this last fire he set this week was about 20 feet below the bed I sleep in, I take that kind of thing personally. I'm not going to be ignored without a fight on this one. I'm just a regular guy, but if I Can get the nearby apartment owners in on this, I might be able to rattle some cages at city hall and get the arson people to allow me to at least describe the guy to them.
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I think about the car fire we had a few months ago that happened at about the same hour in the building next to mine, and also my building manager telling me at the time that the neighbohood had a rash of car fires for some time now, and as I'm putting 2 and 2 together, I smell smoke, and start hearing a commotion, and the direction the guy was running from was where the fire was. Fortunately, unlike the last fire which was real serious, this one got put out quick, before the firemen even showed.
This may be too specific a question to ask, but do you have any idea if the cars burnt actually belonged to people in your neighborhood, or is this an instance of your area being popular for "stolen" cars to be brought from other areas to be set on fire for insurance fraud? With fuel prices so high, we have seen a thrend of folks suddenly claiming their gas guzzlers have been stolen and found burnt to cinders. When I first read your post, that was the first thought that came to my mind, and your state has seen the highest rise in motor vehicle arson for insurance fraud.
When you say he ran in a suspicious manner, can you describe what you saw? Was he carrying a fuel can, or something else (being serious here). Even though you did not see him light the fire, if you at least saw something that would suggest causation then perhaps your description of the guy might be helpful. However, seeing someone running from a scene by itself is insufficient grounds I am afraid. What that arson investigator did was basically measure the value of what you saw versus the effort it would take to investigate it, and I am afraid that wasn't enough.
I can appreciate your frustration, and I hope I do not frustrate you more by saying you will need more information before you will be able to draw attention to this. I would look at your local community newspaper to see which reporters cover the "local" stories in your immediate area, see if they have reported on this before, and contact them with what you know so far. If this has gone unreported, a letter to the editor complaining about how arsons go uncaught in your neighborhood - by doing that, you may ellicit a reaction from other concerned neigbhors.
There is alot more of course that could be done and alot more other posibilities, but I'll leave it at this for now.
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Heard he signed a deal and might wind up on TNA Wrestling.
Back to the subject at hand, I'll quote one of my favorite comedians:
Ron White wrote:I can see his head. Shoot him in the head!
Yes doctor, I am sick. Sick of those who are spineless. Sick of those who feel self-entitled. Sick of those who are hypocrites. Yes doctor, an army is forming. Yes doctor, there will be a war. Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
No, it's Hollywood, it's a fairly dense racially-mixed apartment popuation, About 1/4 white, 1/4 hispanic, and 1/2 Armenian immigrants and a sprinkle of everything else. Nobody is rich but it's no slum, and crime is pretty low otherwise. It's a block and half away from million dollar + homes, If I lived 4 blocks south, I'd be in a crime-ridden slum, 4 block's North, I'd be a movie star. This part of LA is like that. There's almost no crime on my street though because the old Armenian men are always outside talking, smoking cigarrettes, so nobody tries anything funny, except in the wee hours of the night or early morning, which is when these fires take place.
I did some serial arsonist profiling research last night, and this creep is likely what they call a Disorganized serial arsonist-Offender, which means, besides the fact that he's a loser, he probably lives nearby and probably has a criminal record. And since I'm pretty sure he was anglo-white, not Armenian white, And I know roughly his age, build, and the fact that he's very bald, that narrows down the list quite a lot. If an arson investigator showed me mug shots of people who fit that description in a three block radius, I could probably pick this guy out in a second.
The fact that I didn't "see him set the fire" doesn't negate what I saw. The fact that (A) he doesn't fit the description of anyone in the apartment complex so he had no business being there, (B) that I saw him running away full speed, from where a fire was discovered minutes later, and (C) that the route he chose to leave the alleyway was the farthest route possible out of the alleyway, but the least visible.... well it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to say with a degree of certainty that this was the guy.
And if I can ID him, and he learns that a witness saw him and can describe what he was wearing, and the odd route he took to flee the area, the suspect might assume on his own that the eyewitness "saw him set the fire" and confess. I don't know, I'm just spitballing here, but from what I read, these guys aren't easy to catch, and my description might be a lucky break that wins some arson investigator a medal, so I'm going to rattle some cages so I can at least describe this guy to whoever is charged with finding this guy.
I ain't too worried about this creep coming after me, these guys are usually cowards who get spooked if they see anbody when they're getting their rocks off, and if he want's to come after me, I've already prepared, because there is the slight chance he saw me just before I saw him if he was looking up. I've got water bottles lined up at the foot of my door in case he tries to poor in some lighter fluid and light it, and I've got a .38 and a baseball bat. I'm hoping he won't have a weapon because the bat would be more fun.
I don't want it to come to that. I want the arson guy to nail him, but I was in the Boy Scouts, so I'm prepared if this creep might tries anything against me.