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Redondo Beach Man Attempts to Burn Down Gardena Motel


On August 21, 2013, at approximately 12:58 a.m., deputies from South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station responded to an attempt arson call in the 15600 block of Crenshaw Boulevard, Unincorporated Gardena. Upon their arrival, the deputies learned that Robert Thomas, 58 year old resident of Redondo Beach had turned on the gas from the stove inside his motel room and placed a metal spoon in a microwave and turned on the microwave. As Thomas left the motel room wearing a military type helmet, he warned a man that he should leave the motel because the motel was going to explode.

Thomas had left the location prior to the deputies' and the fire department's arrival. The Los Angeles County Fire Department was able to turn off the gas and remove the metal spoon from the microwave prior to an explosion occurring. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Arson Explosives Detail was notified and started investigating the incident.

Later in the morning, approximately 10:15 a.m., deputies located Robert Thomas in the parking lot of the motel and placed him under arrest for attempt arson. Thomas' motive for wanting to destroy the motel is unknown at this time.

Thomas is being held in lieu of $80,000 bail. His next court date is on September 9, 2013, in Torrance Court.

South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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Contact Information: Lieutenant John Hocking - (310) 219-2753,
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