Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Zodiac/Arson

By Kevinrm (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Friday, January 26, 2001 - 02:55 pm:

We currently have a serial arsonist on the loose here in the Phoenix area. To date, he has burned down about a dozen very expensive homes that border the mountain preserves. This dude's methods draw certain parallels with Z. I have been watching him evolve from simply starting a few fires to the point where he started sending letters to the media. Just a few days ago, he was actually audacious enough to meet with a reporter for the local alternative newspaper at the park for an interview, wearing dark sunglasses, etc. Claims that saving the environment is his main concern, but the FBI profile says otherwise. FBI profile is interesting in that they say the news coverage he is receiving is really giving him the jollies.

Now that he is at the peak of his notoriety, it will be interesting to see if he continues, or just fades away. I'm not so sure that they can't quit. One real close call with getting caught may be enough to put the brakes on...

By Ed N. (Edn) (spider-ntc-tb084.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, January 26, 2001 - 10:23 pm:

"Saving the environment???" Bull, pure and simple. Pyromaniacs get off by setting things on fire similar to how sexual sadists get off by killing their victims. Pyromania is a very sexual thing, and this sicko probably can't have a normal sexual relationship with a woman. Who does he think he's kidding?

By Alanc (Alanc) (spider-wb031.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 08:02 am:

It's a loose affiliation of crackpots calling them selves ELF, Ed. It's modeled after ALF, the self-proclaimed Animal Liberation Front. Spoiled brats with too much time on their hands.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (21.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 10:44 am:

I should point out that to the best of my knowledge Ted Kaczynski is the only Zodiac suspect positively known to have committed criminal arson.

By Edward (Edward) (adsl-63-205-196-165.dsl.scrm01.pacbell.net - on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 11:05 am:

Good point, Douglas. Arson is something I think Zodiac would be right in line with, given his shy nature and his seeming lack of control over his life.
On a side note: thesmokinggun.com has the letters written by the various networks to Kaczynski asking for TV interviews.

Chrissy, too bad your search was fruitless. Where and how did you look for arson related incidents out here in CA? Any luck with documentation from the 60's of incident reports, etc?

By Chrissy (Chrissy) (dial-71.farmtel.net - on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 04:30 pm:

Dear Douglas and Edward:

Firstly, the ol Unibomber was positively ruled out by the FBI. I think the problems rooms like this fester(despite our sincerest efforts)is that we lack critical information regarding the crimes and it is from that information that the true nature of the cases goes. Falling in love with a suspect in a case(regarding guilt) can really hurt the objectivity needed to allow evidence to lead to a suspect. A critical factor is that we do not know how many suspects were looked at by the different agencies and then dismissed.

Often times(especially in serial arsonists)the police have photos of the perp taken at the scene. Part of the motivation for setting the fire is held in the commotion and disarray following a fire. While arsonists hardly ever move up towards serial killing(even the serial arsonists)a small group does and sometimes they will ingratiate themselves into the investigation. Organized serial killers are know to do this at an alarming rate. It seems but one more way in which these people feel a need to bait investigations.

Much of this information simply was not in practice in the 1960s and 70s. The concept of routes of transfer and escalation were virtually unknown. As a result of the timing of the crimes in that period, what would be looked at by an investigator today, simply would not be noticed. I suspect that early in z's career he involved himself in the investigations, was looked at and then some wind of politics, public opinion or simple suspect-love fell on the investigation and the teams looking at these crimes attempted to fit Cinderella's slipper on the ugly step-sister's foot. In many respects I think that is still going on today.

As far as the requests for information, I went about requesting all arson cases(which in California are handled by the county and city fire fighting agencies)that remained open, or were closed with conviction between 1955 and 1965. I used broad window, hoping that something would be sent. I did in fact, not receive anything from those agencies, only the police agencies wrote to say who handled such records.

I could use FOIA to pry them loose, but felt that the stone wall of silence indicated that a red flag regarding my requests had been raised. Some times just a request can cause a investigator to fear he or a brother investigator overlooked something.

I offered to pay for copy and postage costs, so there is no good reason for the stone wall. There is a limitations statute on arson outside of those where an unsolved homicide is attached to the case and certainly the closed cases would not pose a threat at all. In the end I was left to speculate the motive for the silence and since arson is a area where REAL bad people often spring from, I did not want to wind up with the FBI watching my house from the corn fields here. I can not blame them for paying close attention to anything to do with certain crimes because the sooner a name can be fed into the files, the more likely a strong suspect can be looked at for a pattern. The idea in serial killer hunting by the experts relies on a mass of information being known so that real risky people are know at the start of an investigation.

Guys you probably know all of that, but I felt it had ought to be said as my basis anyway.

Chrissy Shaw

By Edward (Edward) (adsl-63-204-75-134.dsl.scrm01.pacbell.net - on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 06:24 pm:


Thanks for getting back on your arson search. Had you been from NBC or CBS or a law enforcement agency those records would probably be in your hands right now. Clout goes a lot farther than polite interest.
As for Ted, you might look around the board more. Douglas has a book/CD out on the Unabomer/Zodiac connection. While I do not share his theory, I do not completely discount it, either. And based on his responses, Douglas is still quite objective when it comes to other suspects.

BTW, we do know how many suspects were looked at and dismissed. At one time or another, they all were.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (3.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 10:42 pm:

Chrissy, I would like to see the source of your information that the FBI has positively ruled out Kaczynski. The SFPD ruled him out on the same basis upon which other suspects have been ruled out, i.e., handprinting and fingerprints. Since handprinting can be disguised and (according to Lt. Bruton of the SFPD) there is no certainty that actual Zodiac prints are on file, I'd say that Kaczynski is still just as viable a suspect as any. To the best of my knowledge the FBI eliminated Kaczynski based on the belief that Zodiac would not have changed his M.O. from shooting and knifing to bombing, a belief that I feel I've successfully challenged. And if they have any alibi evidence, they have yet to make it public.

I've written to Kaczynski asking for alibi evidence. If and when I receive a reply I'll post it on the Unabomber/Zodiac web page.

By Chrissy (Chrissy) (dial-89.farmtel.net - on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 11:31 am:

Dear Douglas:

My information is simply in what John Douglas has stated publicly in and around the time of capture. At present, given the psychological differences between assassin and serial killers of the type z seems to be from crime scene info and pattern behavior, I would have to stick with my initial assertions that these two individuals are just that. I am not stating that anyones research is incorrect, but with a sheet of material already available in physical evidence, I do not see a genuine set of correlations between the crimes involved.

What is TK's shoe size just off hand and do you know his weight in 1969? Just off hand those two elements seem to pop to mind. Evidence names the suspect and as far as I know we do not know any suspect who fits the evidence across the board.

By the way, I did not state that I omitted ant reference to the z crimes in my arson search. I did not mention z. I wanted an unbiased search so that I would not be forwarded cases that another investigator though relevant to the search. I have an idea of the manner of pattern I am looking for, so if any of you have access to such information for coastal California in the given time period, get in touch with me and I will discuss postal costs and personal remuneration for such information. Perhaps we can find the trail or trails leading out of that area of crime--if not to z, then to other perps. It had ought to be a very interesting line of investigation.

Chrissy Shaw

By Sandy (Sandy) (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 04:39 am:

Chrissy, I did some research a few years ago,on The Napa fires in the late 60s and early 70s. I met a couple who lived in Napa at that time, they have a son who worked on the investigation. I was told that the person who started the fires, used packs of cigarettes to start them. In the papers those were referred to as incendiary devices. The person was never caught. Mt. Diablo had a fire that was set in a circle around the mountain, I think it was the early 80s. Of course I thought of Z for that one. When I go back up to Napa I will see if I can get you some copies. Around 92 or 93, the Oakland hills were set on fire,on the one year anniversary someone tried to start another one near the same spot. I was dating an Oakland fireman who worked that fire, his boss died fighting that fire. The very day before, I took a drive through those hills, looking for a short cut to Tilden Park where a young girls body had been found a year before, along side of a walking trail. While I was looking in that area, I noticed a pile of cigarettes left there at different Times of the year as if the killer was reliving it,or was waiting for another victim. I found a sign near that spot,like the one that was left by the killer of at least one of the Santa Rosa killers. That sign is a witchcraft sign for speeding the sole to afterlife. I am not sure of the spelling but its something like Vassago, again I thought of Z. I also spoke to an old man who thought he saw the killer almost every day, for about a week until the victim was found. He said the man was a angry man, and that he was almost knocked down by this man on purpose!

By Chrissy (Chrissy) (dial-91.farmtel.net - on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 10:25 am:


Thank you. San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oakland Counties would all be of interest to me. In fact, any arson caused fires in the entire central region of California for those dates would be interesting.

If one can imagine a frustrated criminal having a problem,as z seemed to have at various times, arson would be a thing he could return to, to express the frustration. The cigarette pack guy has a defined signature, but all cases would be of interest to me. This does not mean z was in fact an arsonist(though some things point that way)but it does allow one to see both patterns and names that may have initially been discounted.
This work may have all been done already, but if not, given the writings and the Santa Barbara crime scene information, on those alone it is worth a full probe.

Some where there is information and probably an evidence trail that has been over looked. I would dare any detractor to give solid reason to exclude arson as a possible link to z.

Chrissy Shaw

By Chrissy (Chrissy) (dial-91.farmtel.net - on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 10:26 am:


I think I meant Oxnard.


By Bruce Monson (The_Adversary) (csd132.bvi3.cos.pcisys.net - on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 09:29 pm:

Hello Crissy!

I am a professional firefighter and my Fire Chief used to be a Deputy Chief for the City of Oakland Fire Dept.

I don't know how much help I could be here, but if you will send me a list of exactly what information you wish to find regarding Arson fires, I will talk with one of our fire investigators and see if some research can be done with the appropriate fire departments.

No promises, but I will try.

You are welcome to email me direct at bamonson@pipeline.com


Bruce Monson

By Bruce Monson (The_Adversary) (csd132.bvi3.cos.pcisys.net - on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 09:38 pm:

Pyromania is a very sexual thing, and this sicko probably can't have a normal sexual relationship with a woman.

Er, ED, where did you come up with this conclusion? I never learned that one in any of my fire science courses.

By Chalandra (Chalandra) (tsway1-80.du.gate.net - on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 06:56 pm:

Chrissy and Sandy,

I was wondering in your arson investigations, did either of you come across an arson in Marin County California that happened around June 1968? I am particularily interested in this 23 year old guy that died. He is listed on the California death index of being deceased on 6/24/68. His name does not show up in the Social Security Death Index which I find that to be very strange since I have this guy's social security #. I'm kind of thinking that maybe he really isn't dead but some how California thinks he is dead if that is possible.


By Alanc (Alanc) (spider-ta018.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 07:00 pm:

Does this guy have six toes on each foot?

By Sandy (Sandy) (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 08:02 am:

Alanc, you must be the reason for birth control!

By Ed N. (Edn) (spider-ntc-td074.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 10:58 pm:

Bruce: it was many years ago, and I don't recall where I heard or read it. The second bit was just an assumption on my part, based on the assumption that pyromania = substitute for sex. Sort of like how sexual sadism = substitute for sex, and sexual sadists don't, as far I know, have normal relationships with women. But I don't think it can be disputed that this guy is a sicko, can it?

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 10:15 pm:

Phoenix Serial Arsonist Update: I've been following this guys actions to see how he reacts to the pressure of the FBI, etc., and to try to see if there are any similarities to Z. As I mentioned before, he likes to write letters. Then, he did something extremely "balsy". He granted an interview with our local alternative newspapaer, the "New Times". After the interview, he had been real quiet, and no more fires or letters. The cops tried to subpoena the newspaper and force them for their phone records, etc, but the court ruled against them. That was about 2-3 weeks ago. A few days ago, they received another letter from him, and he say's he'll start burning again soon. It seems as if he feels the coast is clear once again. Once the pressure is on though, he clams up.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-ta083.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 11:15 pm:

It's interesting that the courts would rule in favor of a criminal who has already cost the city how much $$$? I bet if he beat his dog or threw a cat into traffic to be killed (that happened here, I can't believe it's actually deemed newsworthy and that they're apparently going after this guy when there are serial killers and wife beaters and rapists and drug dealers and pedophiles etc etc out there that need to be dealt with first!), the courts would have ordered the paper's records seized in record time.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 06:49 pm:

Yeah, there was a lot of controversy over it. The courts didn't actually rule in favor of the criminal, but in favor of the paper. The judge said he hated to rule the way he did, but had no choice. The cops pressed hard on this, but the paper resisted all the way, citing confidentiality of sources. The paper doesn't know who he is actually, as they met in a park and the dude was wearing clothes to hide his identity. The fact is, the cops did get a lot of info that they wouldn't have ordinarily received from the interview. This guy is also pulling a "Kazinski" type of deal by saying he is in a group and assigning himself some letters of the alphabet ( forgot what they are ) as an acronym.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-ta033.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 12:08 am:

I'm not surprised there was controversy. However, by ruling in favor of the paper, the judge in effect ruled in favor of the arsonist and was obviously more concerned with "confidentiality of sources" than with actually trying to save property and lives.

It also makes me wonder why the reporter didn't have the cops waiting to arrest the arsonist when he showed up for the interview. Might this not be construed as aiding and abetting this criminal, ie, he had the chance to get this sicko off the streets, yet had no interest in anything other than a story, and so might cost the city more $$$ (and who knows how many lives?)?

Anyway, we're here to talk about Z, but I just had to mention that. It shows how twisted and corrupt the system is by protecting the criminals.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 10:29 pm:

Yes, and I'd like to reiterate that the reason I'm posting these updates has to do with comparisons. Since this guy is a letter writter, I'm watching to see what he does and compare it with Z, especially when the heat is on. He did clam up for about a month while the courts were deciding. FBI is on the case now, so he'll be extra cautious. My prediction: Another house will go up here shortly.

By Glen Claston (Glen_Claston) (crtntx1-ar5-036-189.elnk.dsl.gtei.net - on Thursday, March 29, 2001 - 07:49 pm:

I'm not surprised there was controversy. However, by ruling in favor of the paper, the judge in effect ruled in favor of the arsonist and was obviously more concerned with "confidentiality of sources" than with actually trying to save property and lives.

It also makes me wonder why the reporter didn't have the cops waiting to arrest the arsonist when he showed up for the interview. Might this not be construed as aiding and abetting this criminal, ie, he had the chance to get this sicko off the streets, yet had no interest in anything other than a story, and so might cost the city more $$$ (and who knows how many lives?)?

Anyway, we're here to talk about Z, but I just had to mention that. It shows how twisted and corrupt the system is by protecting the criminals.

The only thing in this country we hate more than the press is the government, but that pole would not have been available had it not been for the freedoms of the press made clear in the constitution. Granted that if the press would have been forced to reveal their sources or cooperate with law enforcement the suspect would now be incarcerated. But we would never have learned about Watergate, we would never have learned about germ warfare tests against New Yorkers, we would never have known about the syphillis experiments against black men, the nuclear tests and their effects on sheep and farmers, and in the future we would not know about the heinous crimes our government is even now committing in the name of its citizens.

An open press is a necessary evil - a confined press is simply evil.


By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 09:08 pm:

Phoenix serial arsonist update: He was caught last week! Here are some of the rather interesting comparisons that could be made with Z.

1) Wrote letters to the cops. Unfortunatly for him, he licked the back of the envelope, so now they have DNA evidence on him.

2) Loved the attention. Spoke with reporter for alternative newspaper. However, the police wanted phone records from the paper, and it went to court. Court said "no way", but this guy came real close to getting busted.

3) After his close call, he basically quit. Kind of reminded me of Z and Stine murder.

4)This "arsonist" was supposed to be fighting for the environment, but in fact he lived in the development where the first few homes were burnt. He was even president of the association for awhile. It seems that after he moved in, he didn't want anyone else to. So after the first few fires, he knew the police would be looking at all the homeowners there, and thats when he purposefully started the fires in other areas... to draw attention AWAY from himself. So, if you use that as a parallel, Z very well could have been a local Vallejo boy who murdered in other areas for the very same reason.

5) Couldn't keep his mouth shut. Basically, when you do something on this scale, it must be nearly impossible to keep your mouth shut. Cops wired his friend, and they got all the details. Z as well most likely told a few people.

To read about it, go to:


By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-td043.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 10:36 pm:

Haven't I opined before that Z was local to Vallejo? Among others, of course...

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Friday, June 22, 2001 - 09:50 pm:

Yes, watching this arsonist and comparing the styles was an interesting experiment. I realize they were decades apart, but I was following the case to see "what he would do next". It gives fresh perspective and new ideas. I figured Z was local, but hadn't really considered the possibilty that he killed all over the place to draw the attention away from himself.

Another lesson, the arsonist turned out to be someone that no one would have suspected.

Regardless, it sure did nothing to take away from Allen being Z.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (93.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Saturday, June 23, 2001 - 07:31 am:

I can't understand why anyone would imagine that Z was local to anywhere in the Bay Area. The mailings were weeks, even months apart. It took, for example, from early November 1970 to mid-March, 1971 for him to respond to the well-publicized revelation that he was tied in to the Bates case. See the chart at http://home.att.net/~mignarda/p5.html.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Saturday, June 23, 2001 - 11:02 pm:

What does the dates of the letters have anything to do with whether or not he was from the Bay area? He obviously took his sweet time to write them. How would someone from outside of the Bay area know anything about these oddball murder sites? He's familiar with all the local newspaper editors, etc. I dunno, it "smacks" of a local to me.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (131.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Sunday, June 24, 2001 - 01:43 am:

If he was from the Bay Area and lived there constantly one would assume that his letters would have been more frequent. Were the letters addressed to anyone in particular, with the exception of Paul Avery in 1970-71? I don't think so.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Sunday, June 24, 2001 - 12:36 pm:

Doug, it's obvious to me that TK being Z is a foregone conclusion with you. You're not being objective in the least. Note that my experinent was to see what two different perps who behave similarly might have in common. TK sent his bombs, he didn't go up to the people and shoot them point blank. BIG DIFFERENCE! ( and one that should immediately tell you that TK isn't Z). The Phoenix arsonist turned out to be a local. No surprises actually... it's what one would expect. Z, to everyone except someone focused on making the facts fit TK, was "most likely" a local. You responded because this didn't jive with your man. You wrote "with the exception of Paul Averly". Oh, just Paul Averly? That's all!? And BRS is familliar with non-locals? A non-local cruised BRS and murdered a couple, made his get away, and called the cops very shortly thereafter on a nearby pay phone? Not likely.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (245.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Sunday, June 24, 2001 - 02:42 pm:

Kevin, I've never opined that Ted K was Z. I've said that his profile and the circumstances of his whereabouts (plus a lot of other things) make him a likely suspect. If he's not Z, then his personality is precisely the type we should be looking for in a Z suspect.

Anyone who read the Bay Area press would have been familiar with Paul Avery, or indeed, any of the other editors. And anyone who could get into a car and drive into downtown Vallejo could get to a phone booth to call the police. Someone who had never been there at all could have done it, let alone someone who had lived in the area for two years.

There is little doubt that Kaczynski committed attempted murder by gun sometime early in 1980.

As to MO, I refuse to argue the point on this board any longer. See the essays at my web site. I believe I've stated the case there fairly well.