Crime — 17 June 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

Four San Pedro men were released on bail of $6,000 each and ordered to return to court on July 24 after they were charged with arson and damage to property.

Police say that at about 1:30 Tuesday morning, Abendigo Roaches, Elroy Williams, Daniel Tzib and Armando Escalon went to the apartment unit of Edwin Maradiaga on Sea Grape Drive in San Pedro, damaged his window by throwing missiles at it, after which they threw a missile that exploded in flames on his bed, causing his bedroom to catch fire.

Maradiaga told police that he was in his apartment sleeping when he was awakened by knocking on his room window. He got up to see what was happening, and saw two men standing outside his window, and he called police, but while he was doing so, the men began to throw bottles into his room, damaging his window.

He reported that he sought cover in another area of the apartment. He then saw a golf cart driving away from the apartment, but it came back shortly after and parked in front of the apartment, from where more bottles were thrown through his shattered window into his room.

The cart drove away again but returned a second time shortly after and again parked in front of his apartment. Two men threw more bottles into his room, but something believed to be a Molotov cocktail landed on his bed and exploded.

Maradiaga reported that he and another tenant who was awakened by the commotion went to check what had happened, and saw his room and the hallway engulfed in flames.

They quickly raised the alarm and the neighbors, who responded quickly, extinguished the fire with water.

However, the fire had damaged a bed and mattress, one chest of drawers and three ceiling fans, all belonging to the landlord. The total damage to the apartment amounted to about $2,000.

The police said that they responded to reports of the fire and saw the men driving away from the area in a golf cart, and began to chase them. They fired a warning shot, but the men sped away.

Police said that they chased the vehicle into a dead-end alley and arrested the four men who were travelling in it.

Roaches, Williams, Tzib and Escalon were taken to court on Friday, and appeared in front of Magistrate Sherigne Rodriguez, who read the charges to them. They were then offered bail, which they all were able to meet.

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