Suspected Arsonist Arrested on Same Block in El Segundo Where Surveillance Video Was Recorded

Barbara Nania is seen in a booking photo. (Credit: El Segundo Police Department)

Barbara Nania is seen in a booking photo. (Credit: El Segundo Police Department)

A 63-year-old woman wanted in connection with seven suspicious fires in the El Segundo area was arrested Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Barbara Nania, a resident of the city, was pulled over about 7 a.m. after an officer recognized her from a surveillance video that showed her committing arson, according to a police statement.

The traffic stop occurred on Main Street, in the same block where the video had been captured Sunday outside a nail salon. Publicly released on Monday, the footage shows a woman purposely setting fire to patio furniture, authorities said.

During the traffic stop, officers and detectives identified Nania as the arson suspect and “developed probable cause for her arrest,” the statement said.

No damage or injuries were reported in the fires, two of which were ignited inside local churches while parishioners were worshiping, according to the Police Department.

“When we first started having these arsons, we thought that it was going to turn out to be some juveniles committing these crimes,” said Sgt. Hugo Perez said Monday. “But when we saw a female on video, we were very surprised by that.”

The incidents occurred in July and August, within blocks of one another and during early morning hours, authorities said. They included two dumpster fires, a window frame that was set ablaze at a vacant building, and a small brush fire.

Nania was being held on $350,000 bail after being booked for arson.

An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Ryan Danowitz at 310-524-2258 or rdanowitz@elsegundo.org.


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