Santa Ana Man Arrested After Throwing Molotov Cocktail-Type Device Under Neighbor’s Truck: Police

A man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of arson after surveillance footage allegedly showed him throwing a Molotov cocktail-type device into his neighbor’s driveway, the Santa Ana Police Department said.

Danny Noriega appears in a photo provided by the Santa Ana Police Department on Jan. 10, 2019.

Danny Noriega appears in a photo provided by the Santa Ana Police Department on Jan. 10, 2019.

Danny Noriega, 61, was identified as the suspect by his neighbor, according to Santa Ana police.

Police officers and Orange County Fire Authority officials responded to the 2700 block of West Maywood Avenue on Dec. 15, 2018, after receiving a call about a possible arson case.

Jose Aranda, the resident of the home, told authorities he heard loud noise, looked outside and saw a small fire in his driveway.

"We came outside right away," he told KTLA. "I threw some dirt on it, and then it wouldn't turn off. It was probably gasoline or kerosene on it."

Aranda was eventually able to extinguish the flames using a water hose.

Surveillance footage released by Santa Ana police shows a person cycling toward the house throwing what appears to be a lit object into the driveway.

Fire officials examined the object and found it to be similar to a Molotov cocktail, containing an incendiary device.

Aranda said it wasn't the first time Noriega threw explosive devices onto his family's property.

"He throws little rocks with an M-80 kind of firework attached, and I think he was hoping to make it go through the window so that it would explode inside the house," he said.

According to Aranda, a neighborly dispute arose about two years over parking. After that, he said, windows on his father's car were shattered and a window on their home has also been broken.

But despite a history of aggression, police weren't able to take action until the family installed surveillance cameras and obtained video evidence, Aranda said.

"Every time we've had prior incidents, we call the cops — 'He's shooting us with pellets, he's throwing rocks at us, he's throwing eggs at our cars, he's breaking our windows,' " he told KTLA. "(The response was,) 'Oh, you guys don't have video.' Police wouldn't help us."

Noriega was booked into the Santa Ana Jail on various arson-related charges, with his bail set at $220,000, according to police.

Officers found a part of a device similar to the one launched into the driveway in his pocket upon while taking him into custody, Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The suspect is scheduled to appear in court in Santa Ana on Friday.

Whatever the outcome, Aranda said he's looking forward to a more peaceful living situation.

"Hopefully he doesn't come back," he said. "We just don't want him here in the neighborhood."

Correction: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect age for Noriega. The post has been updated.

KTLA's Erika Martin contributed to this report.

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