A person of interest is sought in connection with a series of vehicle fires in Long Beach. (Kimberly Lewis)

Long Beach police arrest alleged serial arsonist; victims share their experiences

Long Beach, Nassau County, New York: According to officials, a suspect has been taken into custody for his alleged involvement in a string of vehicle fires in Long Beach. The incidents in question were deemed suspicious and have caused concern among residents. The arrest of the suspect brings hope for the community that the perpetrator will be brought to justice.

The Long Beach Police Department has arrested Cristian Portillo, who is 31 years old, on Wednesday morning. He has been booked on suspicion of arson and possession of a concealed dirk or dagger. Currently, he is being held on $50,000 bail as per the police department’s statement.

According to Long Beach fire officials, Portillo had been identified as a person of interest and was believed to match the description of a man seen in photos and videos in the vicinity of the fires.

A person of interest is sought in connection with a series of vehicle fires in Long Beach. (Kimberly Lewis)
A person of interest is sought in connection with a series of vehicle fires in Long Beach. (Kimberly Lewis)

Between August 20th and onwards, a string of vehicle fires ignited in the vicinity of Cedar Walk, located in the area between the Long Beach Convention Center and Camden Harbor View Apartments. The authorities reported that three out of the five fires occurred in the apartment complex’s parking garage.

Early on Tuesday morning, an unfortunate incident occurred in the apartment complex’s parking garage, where a truck was deliberately set ablaze, resulting in significant damage.

The aftermath of a truck fire inside a Long Beach apartment complex parking structure is seen on Sept. 5, 2023
The aftermath of a truck fire inside a Long Beach apartment complex parking structure is seen on Sept. 5, 2023

According to her, the couple spotted the man at various times of the day, roaming around the complex.

According to James, the suspect returned for her car on Wednesday, but was unsuccessful in stealing it as the alarm went off. Fortunately, authorities were already present in the vicinity and were able to apprehend the suspect.

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After her car was set on fire recently, Kaylee Montalbano was left shaken by the incident.

During an interview with KTLA, the individual mentioned that they work as a paramedic and often return home late at night, which makes them apprehensive about walking through their parking garage. The reason behind their unease is the uncertainty of the stalker’s presence and the possibility of encountering them.

As a nursing student, Montalbano had finally completed the payments for her modified truck when she became a victim of arson. With her means of transportation destroyed, she now faces the challenge of finding a way to get to school.

As per her statement, “My truck has been completely destroyed.”

According to reports, the residents of the apartment complexes have been demanding improved safety measures lately. In response to these concerns, a spokesperson for Camden Harbor View Apartments released a statement stating that they have increased security measures starting from Tuesday.

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