Santa Barbara detectives have arrested a 23-year-old UCSB senior for the New Year’s day firebombing of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol station. Authorities say Keith Keiper hurled a Molotov cocktail at the front door of the 6504 Trigo Road building at around 11:30 p.m. The station sustained minor damage, but no one was hurt.
Keiper, who lives on El Colegio Road and has been at UCSB for two years, was booked into County Jail on January 25 and faces a felony charge of arson of an inhabited dwelling. His bail is set at $250,000. It’s believed he acted alone.
Keiper’s alleged attack came around six weeks after an unknown suspect threw two Molotov cocktails at the Foot Patrol building on November 15, 2011. That attack also caused minor damage to the front of the building, as well as smashing the windshield of an unoccupied Sheriff’s patrol car. The November case remains unsolved, and detectives — explaining why they can’t go into detail about how Keiper was identified and caught — are working to determine if the incidents are connected. The FBI’s $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the November firebombing remains in effect.
A transfer student from Mira Costa College in Oceanside, Keiper was previously arrested in October during an Occupy Santa Barbara protest in De la Guerra Plaza. He was charged with two misdemeanors: staying in the park past curfew and refusing to sign a citation. The outcome of that case is unclear at this time.
If anyone has information helpful to the arson investigations, said a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, they are urged to call either the Sheriff’s office at (805) 681-4100, the Sheriff’s anonymous tip line at (805) 681-4171, or the FBI at (805) 642-3995.