SANTA ANA, Calif. – A serial arsonist was arraigned today for setting multiple fires at an apartment complex in Fullerton. Esther Eunjung Cha, 24, Fullerton, is charged with four felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of attempted arson, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, and one misdemeanor count of possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. If convicted, Cha faces a maximum of eight years in state prison and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on March 2, 2017. The time and location are to be determined.
On Feb. 8, 2017, Cha is accused of committing arson by setting the contents of a trash can on fire.
On Feb. 14, 2017, the defendant is accused of entering the mailroom of Fullerton Hills Apartments and setting the contents of a trash can on fire. The next day, on Feb. 15, 2017, Cha is accused of committing arson by setting the contents of a dumpster on fire at the same apartment complex.
On Feb. 16, 2017, the defendant is accused of entering a laundry room at Fullerton Hills Apartments and committing arson by lighting a cardboard box on fire that was sitting on top of a coin operated laundry machine. A maintenance worker for the complex removed the cardboard box from the room and extinguished the fire.
On Feb. 19, 2017, Cha is accused of attempting to commit arson by setting a piece of cardboard on fire and throwing it into a nearby dumpster. The defendant is then accused of walking around an apartment building and attempting to commit arson by lighting a cardboard box on fire and placing it on top of a bush next to an electrical outlet on the side of the building. Fullerton Police Department (FPD) Officers, who were conducting surveillance in relation to the previous fires, contacted the defendant at the scene, and she is accused of being in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Cha was arrested by FPD, who investigated this case.
Deputy District Attorney Gautam Sood of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Public Affairs Unit