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Suspect in Santa Monica Police Vehicle Fire Charged With Arson

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

March 2, 2021 -- A man arrested last Thursday evening for setting a Santa Monica police vehicle on fire during a robbery investigation has been charged with arson.

George Joosten
George Joosten

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges Tuesday morning against George Joosten, a 32-year-old white male, who remains in custody, police said.

Witnesses said they saw Joosten set fire to the unmarked police vehicle at around 6 p.m. Thursday while officers were investigating a robbery incident at the Expo Line station Downtown.

Police had left the vehicle with its lights flashing at the intersection of 5th and Colorado Boulevard while they investigated and detained the robbery suspects.
According to witnesses, Joosten jumped on top of the vehicle and poured an unknown substance over the hood before "igniting it on fire," said Lt. Rudy Flores.

Joosten was not involved in the robbery officers were investigating, according to police.

The suspect fled the area before officers stopped him, Flores said. Witnesses identified Joosten as the person who caused the arson fire.

Police used a fire-extinguisher to put out the fire, he said.

The incident took place two days after a Los Angeles parolee was arrested for setting two vehicles on fire near Santa Monica Airport ("Parolee Arrested for Setting Two Vehicles on Fire in Santa Monica," February 24, 2021).

Anyone with additional information related to Thursday's incident should call Detective A. Buus with the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) at (310) 458-8943 or the Watch Commander’s office at (310) 458-2249.

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