Photo: Steven Minami
Santa Barbara County – In what may well surge to the lead as a late entry in the 2017 Darwin Awards competition, 23-year-old Guadalupe resident Steven Minami was arrested on December 17th on suspicion of arson following his apparently sincere attempt to set the Santa Maria Police Department Headquarters on fire.
According to SMPD spokesperson Lt. Terry Flaa, it was well after midnight when Minami had “used the inter-office phone for the public to talk to dispatchers.”
But when Minami was not getting the timely response to his issues he had expected, “he grabbed a department-decorated Christmas tree and placed it on top of some chairs,” at which point he then ignited the tree so successfully that the building’s fire protection system was activated, drenching the police department lobby with water. Just two years old, the police station’s interior suffered considerable water and smoke damage.
Shortly thereafter, it seems that Minami’s efforts generated the response he was looking for, as he quickly found himself face-to-face with uniformed officers eager to hear what he had to say.
Pursuant to a brief investigation, during which Minami admitted to having some rather profoundly paranoid concerns that “someone had hacked into his computer,” he was placed under arrest and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was booked on suspicion of felony arson, vandalism, and public intoxication, with his bail set at $250,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking