RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A homeless woman in Riverside was recently caught setting a business on fire using rags drenched in hand sanitizer and residents believe it's part of a much bigger issue.
The incident happened on Father's Day. Video captured smoke coming from Majestic Windows & Doors on 3rd Street after the woman was caught throwing the rags through a window.
"We were told that a homeless person had ignited the fire," said Sharon Gillett, who owns the business with her husband. "She had soaked rags in hand sanitizer and lit those on fire and then continued to throw them through the smashed window."
The Riverside Fire Department ultimately put out the fire, but the business was destroyed.
"The fire investigators on scene were able to gather enough evidence through video surveillance and admission that she intentionally damaged the location, used an ignition source to ignite a combustible item and placed it in the building," said Riverside Fire Capt. Ray Mendoza.
While the woman confessed, not everyone does.
"Ultimately, the fire department is responsible for determining the origin and cause on every fire, whether that's an accidental, natural or incendiary," said Mendoza, whose team has been busy with similar cases.
Recently, two people set a vacant city building on fire. Surveillance video captured the three-alarm blaze and the pair's vehicle, which was a vital clue that led to their arrest.
On June 23, someone set a dumpster behind a hospital on fire. Mendoza believes homeless people were behind the fires.
"Realistically, these people aren't evil," said Gillett. "They aren't typically malicious, but they need help, and we don't have the services to help them within our community. So they are wandering aimlessly and destroying property and people's lives."
Gillett said she and her husband are now looking for a new location to rebuild their business.