Jana Marie Spires, a 39-year-old Irvine resident, convicted serial arsonist and previous Weekly Ugly Police Mugshot of the Week model, has been sentenced to a year in jail, a year in a residential drug treatment program and registration as an arsonist for a series of fires she set beginning in the summer of 2010. Spires pleaded guilty to five felony counts of arson of another's property and one felony count of arson of a structure. Five years in state prison will be stayed if she completes her sentencing requirements.
Her first fires were small and set weeks apart, but they alarmed police because they were so close to buildings. Vehicles, the contents of trash cans and items in a garage are among what was set ablaze. Damage ranged from the minor to total losses.
Among the most serious blazes were: a Jan. 23 vehicle fire from newspaper stuffed in the side door of a 2009 Mercedes-Benz parked at an Irvine apartment complex; a Feb. 14 acrylic U.S. flag set on fire at the side of an Irvine home; a Feb. 14 garage fire at a different Irvine home, where a pack of cigarettes was torched; an April 2 vehicle fire started by paper stuffed between the spare tire and license plate of a 2003 Hummer parked at an Irvine apartment complex, followed by the torching of a 2003 Infiniti when a burning newspaper was dropped in an open window.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Investigators not only discovered a pattern to the fires, but DNA evidence left at three locations pointed to the arsonist being a woman, according to Irvine police investigators, who deployed strategic surveillance locations. Just after 8 a.m. on May 21, Spires was arrested at Springbook Elementary School, which is in Irvine's Woodbridge area and where a stack of pizza boxes had been set on fire next to the administration building. Detectives were able to put out the fire before the building sustained any damage.
At the time of her arrest, Spires already had assault with a deadly weapon and petty theft on her rap sheet.