Transient woman accused of arson in Whittier


WHITTIER — Police jailed a homeless woman Wednesday after she allegedly torched one discarded Christmas tree and garage, then tried to set fire to a second discarded Christmas tree, authorities said.
Sarah Hope Kleiner, 45, was booked on suspicion of arson following Wednesday’s early-morning fires, Whittier police officials said Thursday in a written statement.
Officials were first summoned about 4:30 a.m. to a structure fire in the 7600 block of Washington Avenue.
“When officers arrived, they found a Christmas tree on fire in a trash can which was near the garage,” according to the police statement. “The garage subsequently caught fire while L.A. County Fire was responding.”
Officer evacuated the residents from the home, and the residents informed them that there was no one inside the garage, officials said.
“Damage to the garage was extensive and no one was injured,” the statement said.
Just under three hours later, police received a call from a resident in the area of Greenleaf Avenue and Walnut street reporting a woman trying to set a Christmas tree in a trash can alongside his home on fire with a cigarette lighter.
“The witness confronted the female and she left,” the police statement said.
But officers recognized the woman’s description from previous encounters, including one at a laundromat earlier in the day, police said. The was found at Comstock Avenue and Wardman Street and arrested.
According to county booking records, Kleiner was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail at the Whittier Police Department jail pending her initial court appearance.

PHOTO of Sarah Kleiner courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.

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