Seven-Month-Long Arson Investigation in Ventura County Ends in Arrest

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For many cases, fire arson investigations are likely something limited to their favorite crime shows and movies. However, in reality, arson investigations occur across the United States every day, drawing in firefighters, police officers, and even private investigation services to find the culprit. A recent example of this was seen in Ventura County, CA, where a dentist was arrested after a string of fires at dental buildings in the area.

On Friday, January 30, Leopold Weinstein was arrested after Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives found surveillance footage of him setting fire to a dental building. The 63-year-old dentist allegedly committed six acts of arson and attempted arson, beginning in June 2014.

The seven-month fire arson investigation began at the same dental building in Camarillo where Weinstein was eventually discovered, after flammable liquid was discovered on the roof. While this first try was unsuccessful, officials called this incident an “obvious” attempt to commit arson. The case’s pivotal step came when a witness reported seeing his vehicle near one of the crime scenes at an unusual time. The investigators were able to match this description to a similar report from another witness. Using this information, the police were able to team up with fire departments from Moorpark, Camarillo and Ventura County fire departments to identify and arrest Weinstein. Such collaborations are not unusual: in fact, some municipalities will even hire private detectives to help them with particularly long or difficult fire arson investigations. In others, the victims of the fires themselves may hire private detectives to promote their own safety.

Weinstein has been booked on three counts each of arson, attempted arson and possession of a silencer. Because the Moorpark resident is a dentist, investigators believe his crimes may have been motivated by financial reasons or a sense of competition. Reference links.