Series of arson fires in Palm Springs leave police seeking answers

Series of arson fires in Palm Springs leave police seeking answers

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - An arsonist, or perhaps more than one, had it in for Palm Springs Tuesday night - setting fire to eight trash cans and dumpsters within about 15 minutes, behind the Blue Coyote and  "Our Lady of Solitude Catholic Church".

"It was a very bold act. The time of the night, 8:30 when people were out, shows a real disregard. We have concerns," Palm Springs Fire Marshal Ron Beverly said. "They were in a linear line where he worked Bellardo and North Palm Canyon behind the businesses."

The manager of Blue Coyote didn't want to talk on camera but said customers started running outside thinking the restaurant was on fire. Our Lady of Solitude had it worse, though.

The front part of the building, the actual church, was not affected. The part that caught fire played a large role in the church's services to the community - their food pantry.

"It's harmful to the homeless people that come here on the weekends. We can't use this for a while. We are going to try to figure out another way to provide the lunch bags we give out, but it won't be from that building," Father David Foxen said.

Police have one suspect description - a tall white man wearing a  gray hoodie and they're looking for possible surveillance video. The church does not have surveillance cameras and the Blue Coyote doesn't have one facing the back where the arson happened.
"It hurts when something like this happens because you are trying to use the facility as best you can to serve people, and this takes it out of commission for a while and the expense of having to fix the building," Foxen said.

No word on cost of damages. If you have any information about these crimes, please call the Palm Springs Police Department or the Palm Springs Fire Department.

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