LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A suspect has been arrested in connection with a series of vehicle fires that occurred over the past two weeks in the Long Beach area, officials announced Wednesday.
Police identified the suspect as Cristian Jehovany Portillo, 31. He was booked on suspicion of arson and possession of a concealed dirk or dagger. His bail was set at $50,000, according to police.
According to the Long Beach Fire Department, the male suspect was arrested by Long Beach police about 2 a.m. Wednesday.
He matched the description of the person of interest whose photo had been previously released by authorities, the Fire Department said.
Five arson fires have occurred in separate incidents during the past two weeks, officials said.
"They all appear to be in parking structures. In close proximity to this geographical area, downtown off of Seaside. The fact that they're all occurring in parking structures lends us to think that they are all related and interconnected," Capt. Jake Heflin with the LBFD said Tuesday.
Three of the fires were started inside the parking structure for residents of Camden Harbor View apartments.
Kaylee Montalbano lost her 2010 Chevy Silverado in the flames. She's attending nursing school and working as a part-time paramedic and it won't be easy to replace the vehicle.
"Me and my partner were heartbroken trying to figure out what the next steps are," she said. "Money doesn't grow on trees. So we're trying to figure out the financial situation that we're in."
A GoFundMe page has been started to help Kaylee replace the truck.
The number of arson incidents in the city of Long Beach has been steadily rising in recent years.
Data analyzed by Eyewitness News indicates the number of arsons in Long Beach over the last decade reached its low of an average of five per month in 2014 and 2015. After that the number began steadily rising and this year so far is averaging about 14 per month, the highest level in more than a decade.