Police search for possible serial arsonist in Sunnyvale

Police in the South Bay are searching for an arsonist who they say set nine fires in front of townhomes in Sunnyvale.

The fires were set on porches during a half-hour time span early on Sept.10, starting around 12:45 a.m. on the 400 block of Toyama Drive.

Monday, Sunnyvale investigators released an image taken from a surveillance camera of a man they think set the fires in four different complexes around Seven Seas Park.

"There were several other reports of fire in that area. And through the investigation, we did find somebody on camera," said Captain Ava Fanucchi with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. "The suspect that was depicted in the photo. We are asking for the community's help identifying that person."

Investigators say in addition to the two fires set on Toyama Drive, four were set on the 1000 block of Jena Terrace, two were set on the 1000 block of Morse Drive, and one was set on the 1000 block of Konstanz Terrace.

Items burned included a patio umbrella, a cooler and a BBQ cover.

"We thought we left our barbecue on. When I ran out here, the fireman actually informed me that no, someone is going around the area lighting fires," said Kristin Rendler. 

Rendler and her husband say they were awoken to find their barbecue in front of their townhome on fire.

"The cover was totally disintegrated by the time we came outside," said Robert Rendler.

"It was scary and frightening because there was a full propane tank in the barbecue. If that would have caught on fire, there would have been an explosion," Kristin Rendler said. "There are children in the area. It felt very violating,"

While there was no structural damage or injuries, police say they remain concerned about the danger posed to residents.

Police say there have not been any arson fires that they're aware of since that night, and they don't know the arsonist's motivation.  

They are asking anyone who recognizes the man in the photo to call them.