Transient sentenced for torching Whittier garage


NORWALK — A homeless woman received a two-year prison sentence Wednesday for lighting a fire that scorched a residential garage in Whittier, authorities said.
Sarah Hope Kleiner, 45, received her sentence from Norwalk Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza after pleading “no contest” to a count of recklessly causing a structure fire in connection with the fire, which broke out about 4:30 a.m. Jan. 8 at a home in the 7600 block of Washington Avenue, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and Whittier police officials.
In addition to the prison term, Espinoza also ordered Kleiner to pay $20,000 in restitution, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Kleiner set fire to a discarded Christmas tree, which then spread to the garage, investigators said. Inside the garage was a treadmill and other personal items belonging to the victim.
Several hours after the garage fire, another Whittier resident reported Kleiner had set fire to a Christmas tree discarded in a trash can, but had fled once confronted by the homeowner, Whittier police official said at the time.
No charges were filed in connection with the second fire, which resulted in no damage.

PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department

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