Suspect Jailed in Arson Fires at El Cajon Bank

The suspect allegedly torched the cash machines on Tuesday, "causing extensive damage," police said

Key in Jail Cell Door
Charles O'Rear

A transient on probation for a prior arson arrest was back behind bars Friday on suspicion of setting fire this week to several ATMs at an eastern San Diego County bank.

Valerie Eliezer, 29, was taken into custody Thursday in connection with the non-injury blazes at the Bank of the West branch office in the 1200 block of East Main Street in El Cajon, according to police.

Eliezer allegedly torched the cash machines on Tuesday, "causing extensive damage," Lt. Randy Soulard said. The bank was closed and unoccupied at the time.

"During the investigation into the arson, several images of the suspect who (allegedly) set the fires were captured by surveillance cameras at the bank and surrounding areas," Soulard said. "Officers immediately recognized the suspect in the images as a local homeless woman identified as (Eliezer)."

The suspect's "extensive" criminal history includes an earlier arrest on suspicion of maliciously setting a fire, according to Soulard.

"Eliezer was in possession of a cigarette lighter at the time of (this week's) arrest, which is also a violation of her probation," the lieutenant said.

The suspect was booked into Los Colinas women's jail in Santee, where she was being held on $70,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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