Woman arrested for setting series of fires in Fullerton since September 2016

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Eun "Esther" Cha, 24, of Fullerton, is shown in a mugshot.
Eun "Esther" Cha, 24, of Fullerton, is shown in a mugshot.

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A Fullerton woman was arrested on suspicion of setting a series of fires in the community since September 2016.

Authorities said since Sept. 1, 2016, 28 fires have happened in the city and were deemed suspicious in nature or arson. Of those fires, 14 of them happened in the 1200 block of N. Gilbert Street. Most of those fires were set overnight.

Fullerton officers set up surveillance around the area in an attempt to catch the suspect. On Sunday, police conducted surveillance on a woman, later identified as Eun "Esther" Cha, a 24-year-old resident. She attempted to start two separate fires in the area.

Authorities said around 3:50 a.m., she attempted to set fire to a dumpster, but was unsuccessful. She also tried to light bushes underneath an electrical panel attached to an apartment complex but was unsuccessful again.

Officers made contact with her and arrested on suspicion of arson. Police said she was also in possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. While in custody, the woman admitted to setting fires within the area, police said.

Police also said that based on physical evidence, they believe Cha is responsible for a majority of the fires set in the area. She is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with more information regarding the fires or suspect is urged to call the Fullerton Police Department's property crimes Sgt. K. Hamel at (714) 738-5336. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call the OC Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.