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UCSB Senior Arrested as Suspect in Firebombing of Isla Vista Foot Patrol Station

Sheriff's Department video shows a lone person throwing flaming objects at the building; a similar November incident remains unsolved

Keith Keiper
Keith Keiper

Authorities have arrested a man suspected of throwing a Molotov-cocktail-like device at the Isla Vista Foot Patrol station on New Year’s Day, but a similar crime on Nov. 15, 2011, remains unsolved.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has arrested UCSB senior Keith Keiper, 23, as a suspect and believes he was working alone, department spokesman Drew Sugars said.

Keiper is accused of throwing an incendiary device at the sheriff’s substation, causing minor damage to the building at 6504 Trigo Road, but no one was hurt.

A lone figure was caught on video throwing two flaming objects at the substation in a Nov. 15, 2011, attack, but detectives are still unsure whether the two attacks are related. The November incident smashed the windshield of a patrol car and damaged the building.

Keiper is being held on $250,000 bail in the County Jail and has been charged with arson of an inhabited structure and use of a destructive, explosive device to injure people or property, Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter said.

Keiper pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday.

Arson is exempt from Assembly Bill 109, or the realignment act, so Keiper would serve his sentence in prison instead of the County Jail if convicted and sentenced.

The FBI has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the November incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 805.681.4100, the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171 or the FBI at 805.642.3995.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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