Santa Ana's Season of the Firebug
A transient will be formally charged this morning with setting five fires on three occasions in dumpsters located behind a Santa Ana retailer and fast food chain.
Forty-year-old Tommy Wayne Burke is not be confused with Gabino Campo Jr., who was arraigned last week for allegedly setting a marked Orange County Sheriff's Department patrol vehicle and a car next to it on fire while they were parked outside a Santa Ana restaurant.
Nor is Burke to be mistaken for Hector Manuel Medina, the 32-year-old auto mechanic who was sentenced to five years in state prison Monday for dousing a transient and his shopping cart with gasoline and lighting them on fire behind his Santa Ana garage. Medina's case was previously blogged about here.
Burke, who has a1990 prior strike conviction for second degree robbery, will be charged at his arraignment in Santa Ana today with five felony counts of arson of another's property. He faces a maximum sentence of 16 years and four months in state prison if convicted.
Authorities say that at around 11 p.m. on Feb. 11, Burke set two fires in dumpsters located behind a Ross store on South Bristol Street in Santa Ana. A week later, on Feb. 18, he allegedly returned to the same location—around the same time—and set two more fires in dumpsters.
The person who set the fires fled both times, but the Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) says the arsons were captured by video surveillance.
At about 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Burke was arrested after Santa Ana Police officers say they saw him walking away from a dumpster behind a KFC fast food restaurant. He was carrying a lighter at the time of his arrest, they added.
Campo, 28, of Santa Ana, is charged with two felony counts of arson of another's property with sentencing enhancements for arson with accelerant. If convicted, Campo he faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison.
The OCDA complaint says that at approximately 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 27, he parked the 1990 Toyota Celica he was driving behind a marked OCSD black and white patrol car outside the Claim Jumper on Tustin Avenue and 17th Street in Santa Ana.
He allegedly poured a flammable substance on the patrol car and lit it on fire, but the flames destroyed both the OCSD unit and another vehicle parked next to it, according to the complaint. Witnesses got a look at him and the Celica as he dashed off at high speeds, according to prosectors.
Campo was arrested on Feb. 13 at a Costa Mesa park. He was carrying unknown liquids and matches at the time of his arrest, says the OCDA.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.