Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

American flags, trees torched in Citrus Heights arson spree

Three Cypress trees can be seen with fire damage on Lynnetree Way, where police are investigating several fires. // Mike Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip–
Police are investigating a series of fires set in a Citrus Heights neighborhood over the weekend that involved multiple American flags and trees being burned.

In an interview with The Sentinel on Monday, resident Josh Mistretta said several houses in his Lynnetree Way neighborhood were targeted, along with other items such as a couch. He said his surveillance cameras recorded five masked individuals walking through the neighborhood checking doors and lighting fires at 3:40 a.m. Saturday, June 6.

“Some guys came through and threw some lighter fluid on the trees and lit em up,” he said.

Three towering Cypress trees in his front yard could be seen on Monday with fire damage extending up more than 30 feet. A green waste container and other items with fire damage were also seen piled in the back of a pickup truck parked in front of the home.

Mistretta said he knows two other houses in the neighborhood with American flags that were targeted. He has lights on his front fence in the shape of an American flag.

“Apparently my flag wasn’t enough, so they burnt down my trees,” Mistretta wrote in a social media post about the incident.

Citrus Heights Police Lt. Michael Wells told The Sentinel in an email Monday evening that a preliminary investigation indicates the flags were intentionally set on fire, which is arson. Due to the close proximity of the various fires, police believe the same person or persons are responsible.

Mistretta is grateful for neighbors who helped, saying residents on his street came together when they realized what was happening. He said there was some minor damage to his house, but it could have been worse.

“Really, the wind is what saved the house. The wind and the neighbor,” he said, crediting his neighbor’s quick response to the incident.

Mistretta was out of town at the time, but was alerted to the fire on his mobile device by the security system in his home.

Police are asking anyone with security or doorbell cameras to review their footage and contact the department’s non-emergency line at 916-727-5500 with any relevant recordings.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)