IRVINE, Calif. (KTLA) — Police have released surveillance video in what investigators believe was an arson fire set to create a diversion by a would-be burglar.
Cameras caught the suspect in the leasing office of the AXIS 2300 Luxury Apartments on Dupont Drive, where a fire broke out on January 9.
The man is seen on security video attempting to set a fire under a couch that burned out on its own.
He is also seen 45 minutes later when he returns and sets a fire that prompted residents to evacuate the building, according to police.
A resident who returned to his apartment to retrieve his keys found a man apparently burglarizing his unit.
During the confrontation, the suspect pepper sprayed the resident and fled.
The suspect is described as a 25 to 35-year-old male with a dark complexion, possibly Hispanic or Middle-Eastern.
He is 5 feet, 9 inches to 6 feet tall with a heavy build and dark curly hair.
He was wearing a black leather jacket, light blue jeans, tan shoes and carrying a black back pack. One witness indicated the suspect had a mole on one cheek.
There is a second person of interest who was also seen in the area and may have information, police said.
That person is described as a 40 to 50-year-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.
The investigation is on-going and detectives are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to determine if there may be additional fires related to this case.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Irvine Police Department Arson Investigator at 714-573-6712 or email Detective B. Miller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.