Man Arrested in Connection With Series of Arson Fires in Santa Monica

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Santa Monica police arrested a homeless man Thursday on suspicion of lighting an arson fire in a trash can, and they’re looking into his possible connection to two other recent arson fires, authorities said.

Joseph Brent Burchett, 57, in a photo released by the Santa Monica Police Department following his arrest on Jan. 3, 2019.
Joseph Brent Burchett, 57, in a photo released by the Santa Monica Police Department following his arrest on Jan. 3, 2019.

Joseph Brent Burchett, 57, was booked on suspicion of arson after police found and arrested him Thursday night in the 1900 block of Arizona Avenue, the Santa Monica Police Department said in a written statement.

He was described as a transient who came to Southern California from Kentucky, Lt. Saul Rodriguez said.

He’s accused of setting fire to a trashcan on Thursday afternoon in the 2800 block of Montana Avenue, police said.

Detectives were also investigating whether he is also responsible for two other trash can fires in the city reported on Tuesday and on Dec. 22, officials said.

Burchett’s bail was set at $50,000, Los Angeles County booking records show. He was scheduled to make his court appearance Tuesday in the Los Angeles Airport branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Santa Monica police at 310-458-8491.

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