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Friday, September 27, 2019

Arsonist Torches Sleeping Homeless Man's Cardboard Shelter

     During the early morning hours of September 12, 2019, in Glendale, California, a suburban community ten miles north of downtown Los Angeles, 32-year-old Richard Smallets was recorded on a business' surveillance video camera setting fire to cardboard boxes providing shelter to a sleeping homeless man. After igniting the fire, Smallets hung around taking photographs of the blaze. The street shelter fire was set not far from Glendale's Museum of Neon Art.

     The unnamed homeless man woke up before being burned, and with Smallets taking pictures of him, tried putting out the fire with bottled water. The Glendale Fire Department quickly responded to the scene and put out the dwindling blaze.

     Glendale police officers took Smallets into custody later that day and booked him into the Los Angeles County Jail on the charge of arson. The next day, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged Smallet with attempted murder. A magistrate set his bail at $1 million.

     At his arraignment, Richard Smallets pleaded not guilty to arson and attempted murder.

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