Carsonists Strike Again

Sunday, Nov 8, 2009  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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Images Believed to be the Early Work of Ansel Adams

A carsonist strikes in Contra Costa County

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RAW Video: Cars Torched in East Bay

A random act of arson claims 10 vehicles, investigators say.
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For a second time this week, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office is investigating a string of vehicle fires.

The latest fires cost three car owners their vehicle in the cities of El Sobrante and Richmond late Saturday night.

Deputies were dispatched to a fire in front of a home in the 5500  block of Oak Knoll Road in the unincorporated city of El Sobrante at about  10:50 p.m., sheriff's office spokesman Jimmy Lee said Sunday.

Firefighters from the Contra Costa County Fire Department were  there when deputies arrived and they had already extinguished the fire.

At about the same time, firefighters from the department handled  two other blazes nearby in Richmond, he said.

A neighborhood canvas was conducted to find possible suspects or  witnesses.

Earlier in the week, investigators were looking for a man who set at least 10 cars on fire Wednesday in Richmond and in the El Sobrante area.  Lee said today that they cannot confirm the fires are linked, although it is  possible. No suspects have been located.

The earlier arsons happened between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Those cars, vans and SUVs were parked in driveways near homes, mostly along San Pablo Dam Road.

One homeowner on DeAnza Road woke to find his van and SUV in flames. Firefighters were already there pouring fire retardant on it. The van wasn't only set on fire, he told NBC Bay Area, but someone also stole the license plates off the vehicle.

The homeowner said there were no obvious signs of gasoline or anything but, clearly someone set these fires. He has lived in the home for 20 years he says with no problems and has had no trouble with anyone.

Contra Costa County fire is investigating, along with the Sheriff's Department and Richmond police. Officials say the fires appear to have been deliberately set.

No injuries were reported. A witness told police he saw a man in a black hoodie running from the scene early Wednesday morning.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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