Search on for arsonists in West side spree

2 vehicles, 2 dumpsters torched


SAN ANTONIO – The search is on for clues and suspects in a fiery overnight crime spree on the city's West side.

San Antonio arson investigators received the first in a series of calls about fires after 4 a.m. Wednesday.

According to Capt. Chris Casals, they found a total of two vehicles and two trash dumpsters that had been set on fire in a neighborhood near Culebra and Callaghan roads.

Gabriel Ramos said a relative woke him up and told him his car, parked in the 5300 block of Costa Mesa Street, was burning.

"I was actually working on the car at the time. Didn't have much more to go before we got it running," Ramos said. "Now it's something I can't do anything with."

A few blocks over, in the 5100 block of Pettus Street, smoke wafted up the burned out shell of what used to be a minivan. The unidentified woman who owned it said she not only lost her transportation, but most of the materials she uses for work, which were inside it.

Investigators said they believe the same people are responsible for both of those fires, as well as those that burned inside two garbage dumpsters nearby.

One of the dumpsters was located behind Kiran Patel's convenience store at Culebra Road and Benrus Street. He said it burned too close for comfort.

"It might cost me if the fire comes to my store because it was dry, all the grass and everything. It can catch on my store," Patel said.

While he does have surveillance cameras outside the business, he said there aren't any near the dumpster. But now, he said, he's planning to add more.

That may help in solving future crimes.

For now, though, Casals said, investigators don't have much to work with when it comes to clues.

Immediately after the crimes, police searched the neighborhood, from a helicopter and on the ground, but did not find the arsonists.