That’s one way to handle a parking ticket….

This story on the wires caught my eye last week – Glendale City Hall’s Christmas tree was set on fire. It caught my eye, naturally, since I used to cover the city’s police and fire departments, schools, businesses and politics, but had other things going so I don’t think I produced this story for work. But the press release I got in my personal email today was priceless – apparently, the main suspect is a guy who was pissed over a parking ticket:

On December 30, 2005 the City of Glendale Christmas tree was set ablaze by an unknown individual. The Glendale Police Department Communication Center which handles all 911 calls and the dispatching of Police calls for service overlooks the City Hall Plaza to the east. Upon noticing flames they immediately dispatched Police Officers and notified the Fire Department. Upon arrival the tree was fully engulfed. Officers located a witness while the Fire Department put out what was remaining.

Officers obtained information that there was an elder male with white or gray hair that was seen in the area just prior to the fire. The witness observed this male to flee in a blue pick up.

As in all crimes, this information was broadcast to all units in the city to be on the lookout for such a person driving the described vehicle. Parking Enforcement Officer Hancock recognized the vehicle description as one she had had just given a citation to for parking in a red zone on Franklin Court.

This information was forwarded to Police Detective Miguel Porras. Detective Porras and Fire Investigator Mike Richardson of the combined Police and Fire Arson Unit began an exhaustive search for the vehicle. They were able to locate the citation issued by the Parking Checker and obtained the license plate of the vehicle. They were able to identify the registered owner of the vehicle and the address. A picture was obtained of the registered owner and it matched the description that had been received on the night of the incident. Detectives re-contacted the witness. The witness was able to identify the vehicle that was seen fleeing on the night of the Christmas Tree fire.

With this information in hand the Arson Unit, headed by Sgt. Ernie Garcia, conducted a surveillance of the vehicle and the residence where it was parked. It was located in the 700 block of N. Adams in the city of Glendale.

The Detectives eventually were able to contact the suspect, Bruce Morrison, 52 years. Mr. Morrison was cooperative in the investigation. A result of the investigation was the recovery of evidence utilized to set the tree on fire and statements acknowledging the act of Arson. Mr. Morrison was apparently upset over the fact he received a parking ticket. Bail is tentatively set at $50,000.00.

Update: Check out a picture of the tree pre-burning here, and stories by the Glendale News-Press and the LA Daily News. I especially like Alex’s lede – “burned up about a parking ticket.” Snicker.

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