February 4, 2012 – Isla Vista, Ca.
Keith Keiper, 23, a transfer student from Mira Costa College in Oceanside, Ca. and currently enrolled as a Senior at UCSB, has been arrested in connection with the New Year’s Day firebombing of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Isla Vista Substation immediately adjacent to the idyllic oceanfront campus.
In statements to the media announcing the arrest of Keiper, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Drew Sugars indicated that at this point in their investigation, detectives believe Keiper acted alone when, at approximately 11:40 p.m. January 1st, he threw a gasoline-filled flaming glass jar at the Isla Vista Foot Patrol station house. At the time, two SBSD deputies were inside the facility; neither was injured in the attack, although the building suffered fire damage. “It could have been much worse,” Sugars remarked to the media, noting that Santa Barbara County Fire responded to the scene within minutes of the attack. “We did have deputies inside the building at the time, and across the street we have fairly dense housing. It was a very dangerous act, what this person did,” he added.
On November 15, 2011, a similar attack occurred at the same location. At that time, the FBI commenced an investigation, pursuing analysis of video recordings made by surveillance cameras at the scene, as well as a number of incidents of graffiti found nearby that referenced the arson attacks. A $5,000 reward has been posted by the FBI for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the November attack, which damaged a Sheriff’s patrol unit as well as the stationhouse building.
Subsequent to the earlier attack, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Brad McVay revealed that the video evidence had been compromised by the sheer velocity and volume of smoke attendant to the conflagration. According to McVay, the primary evidence visible on the video recordings “was a large fireball as the large object or objects exploded.”
It remains undetermined if Keiper is suspected in the earlier bombing, and that case is considered open and the subject of ongoing investigation. Keiper is currently held in Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony arson of an inhabited dwelling on $250,000 bail.
keyt.com: Fire Bomb at Sheriff’s Station Second in Two Months