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Suspect Arrested in Series of Morning Fires in Carpinteria

Sheriff's deputies respond to fires at five locations in span of 90 minutes Sunday

Brian Dean Rathbun
Brian Dean Rathbun

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a Carpinteria man as a suspect in a series of five fires set in the city early Sunday.

Brian Dean Rathbun, 51, of Carpinteria was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on five counts of arson. Bail was set at $250,000.

Sheriff’s deputies from the Carpinteria Station responded to five fires between 5:50 and 7:14 a.m. Sunday.

Department spokesman Drew Sugars released the following descriptions of each fire, all set in Carpinteria:

» Cabo’s Baja Grill & Cantina, 5096 Carpinteria Ave. There were fires in two outside trash cans. The only damage was to the trash cans.

» City Market Center, 5296 Carpinteria Ave. There was a fire in an outside trash can. The building suffered smoke damage and an outside vending machine was destroyed.

» Montecito Bank & Trust, 1023 Casitas Pass Road. There was a fire in an outside trash can. The only damage was to the trash can.

» McDonalds, 1115 Casitas Pass Road. A fire was set in a trash can inside the bathroom of the restaurant. The building suffered smoke damage and damage to the trash can.

» AM/PM, 1116 Casitas Pass Road. A fire was set in a trash can inside one of the building’s bathroom. The building suffered smoke damage and damage to the trash can.

Sugars said evidence at the AM/PM yielded suspect information, leading deputies to Rathbun of Carpinteria, who was arrested about 10 a.m. Sunday at Carpinteria State Park.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson 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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