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Transient Held in Redondo Firebombing

A Redondo Beach man who had complained to police about a van illegally parked on his street had his house firebombed early Thursday by the homeless man who was living in the vehicle, police said.

The transient, 37-year-old Sidney C. Vrachan, confessed to the attack, saying it was in retaliation for a ticket the van received following the homeowner’s complaint, police said.

“He said the van was registered to a relative, and he was mad because the relative would have to pay the ticket,” Redondo Beach Police Lt. John Nelson said. Vrachan was charged with arson and is being held on $10,000 bond.

The victim of the firebombing, whose name was not released, was awakened at around 1:45 a.m. by a knock on the front door of his home on Ruhland Avenue, followed by the crash of glass as a Molotov cocktail was heaved through his window, Nelson said.

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As his front room went up in flames, the homeowner grabbed a .38-caliber revolver and shot at his attacker but missed, Nelson said. The fire was extinguished within minutes and damage was estimated at about $15,000.

Nelson said the homeowner was baffled by the attack but became suspicious several hours later when he went out for coffee and noticed that the van he had complained about on Sunday was again parked near his neighborhood. He reported it to police, who, when they rousted the van’s occupant, noticed that he smelled of kerosene and that the hair on one side of his head was badly singed, Nelson said.


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