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Robbery Attempted During Fire Evacuation at Apartment Complex in Irvine

Brush Fire Burning in Little Tujunga Canyon
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Officials have deemed two fires in an Irvine apartment complex yesterday "suspicious in nature" after a man was found trying to rob one of the units following the resident's evacuation, reports City News Service.

The first fire began in the leasing office at 2300 Dupont Drive. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene at 8:30 p.m., the blaze had been mostly extinguished by sprinklers and residents had evacuated.

But when one man went back to his apartment to retrieve his keys, he found another man in there, in what authorities believe was an attempted burglary. The two men got in a fight, and the suspect proceeded to pepper-spray the victim before running from the scene.

Authorities later found that another fire had been started in the recycling enclosure in the garage of the same building. It was the discovery of the second fire, said Irvine police Lt. Julia Engen, along with the attempted theft that led officials to think that the two were related and possibly set deliberately.

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"It doesn't take a lot to put the two (fires) together,'' she said.