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Sentinel staff report–
Fourth quarter crime statistics for 2020 from the Citrus Heights Police Department show drops in most major crime categories — with the exception of arson incidents, which increased by 600%.
Police reported six arson incidents between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, compared with none reported during the same period in 2019, according to the latest quarterly report from the department.
Police Lt. Michael Wells said Thursday that three arrests were made in the incidents and noted there “does not appear to be a trend or ‘serial arsonist’ starting these fires.” He described the following six arson incidents:
- A transient set two dumpsters on fire on Auburn Boulevard. Subject was arrested.
- A fire damaged the former Mom’s Discount Wholesale Florist on Auburn Boulevard. Suspect still outstanding.
- A truck on fire in the Birdcage Village Apartments, where it was determined the truck had fireworks in the bed of the truck which started the fire. Suspect is still outstanding.
- A fire involving a domestic dispute in which the aggressor took a lighter to set fire to the victim’s belongings. Suspect was arrested.
- A transient set cardboard on fire on San Juan Avenue to keep warm. She was arrested.
- An arson incident involving a subject starting a fire to a home under construction. Suspect still outstanding.
Also on The Sentinel: Investigation deems fire at former Citrus Heights sushi restaurant ‘suspicious’
Police and Metro Fire are also currently involved in an investigation of a suspicious fire that occurred last week at a vacant restaurant on Greenback Lane, formerly home to the Flaming Mountain sushi buffet. Investigators determined the cause of fire was a shopping cart outside the building, but police do not know if it “was intentionally set to ignite the building, or possibly transients utilizing the cart for a fire to keep warm.”
A full crime report on 2020 is expected next month, when the City Council traditionally receives an annual report from the police chief each year in March. In 2019 there was a total of seven arson incidents during the year, and 12 incidents reported in 2018, according to the police chief’s report last March.
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