[UPDATED with Arrest:] Irvine Police Turn to Public to Find Men Wanted in Apartment Fire, Burglary and Assault

Categories: Crime-iny
See the update on page 2 about police making an arrest and prosecutors filing charges.

ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 11, 9:23 A.M.: The Irvine Police Department is reaching out to the public in hopes of finding two men linked to an apartment complex apartment fire they believe was set so units could be burglarized after residents fled.

Photos and security video have been released of man who pepper sprayed the face of a resident who returned to his unit to find the stranger inside after the fire broke out Wednesday night at AXIS 2300 Luxury Apartments, 2300 Dupont Drive (at Von Karman Avenue), Irvine.

A photo has also been released of a second man considered by police to be a "person of interest."

The structure was already being evacuated as Irvine Police and Orange County Fire Authority personnel arrived around 8:30 p.m. The agencies had received multiple calls of smoke and possibly fire coming from the leasing office area on the first floor. The fire, which was quickly knocked down, was confined to the leasing office, and there was no structural damage or injuries from the fire, according to Irvine Police Lt. Julia Engen.
But before the fire was extinguished, a male resident returned to his apartment to retrieve his keys--and found this man inside, apparently burglarizing his unit:

Photos courtesy of Irvine Police Department
The suspect
He is further described as a 25- to 35-year-old Hispanic or Middle-Eastern who is 5-foot-9 to 6 feet tall with a heavy build, dark complexion and dark curly hair. He was wearing a black leather jacket, light blue jeans, tan shoes and carrying a black back pack. One witness said he had a mole on one of his cheek, Engen noted.
The second man seen in the area around the time of the fire "may have information" that can help investigators, according to Engen:

He is described as 40 to 50 years old male with a dark complexion and a white goatee. He was wearing a black beanie, black jacket, blue jeans and carrying an orange and black backpack.
Security video from the leasing office shows the arson/burglary suspect attempting to set a fire under a couch, but it burned out on its own before he returned 45 minutes later to set the blaze that caused the evacuation, Engen noted. Here is video:

Because the stranger in the apartment pepper sprayed the resident, the suspect is wanted for assault in addition to arson and burglary. Anyone with information on the identity of either man is encouraged to call the Irvine Police Department Arson Investigator at 714.573.6712 or email Detective B. Miller at bmiller@cityofirvine.org.

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

From the Vault