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Man accused of setting fire to cardboard above sleeping homeless man

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Posted at 10:46 AM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 12:55:41-04

A man is accused of setting fire to cardboard that a homeless man was sleeping under in Southern California.

The Glendale Police Department says 32-year-old Richard Smallets intentionally set the fire on a sidewalk near a popular shopping center on Sept. 12. Police responded to the scene at about 1:22 a.m. to assist firefighters called to extinguish the fire.

An investigation revealed the homeless man was awoken by the odor of smoke, realized the cardboard above him was on fire and unsuccessfully attempted to put out the flames with bottled water.

Later that afternoon, police say detectives retrieved video surveillance from a nearby business that captured a man intentionally lighting the cardboard on fire and then taking photos.

Officers later came in contact with Smallets at nearby Central Park. After questioning, he was identified as the suspect and subsequently placed under arrest on an arson charge.

The next day, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed an attempted murder charge against Smallets. His bail has been set at $1 million.

The motive behind the crime is unknown at this time.