‘Bored’ ex-California firefighter jailed for arson
LOS ANGELES, United States — A former California firefighter was jailed on Tuesday for deliberately starting dozens of wildfires out of boredom and in a bid to earn extra money on the job.
Benjamim Cunha, 33, was sentenced to five years in prison for arson and was ordered to pay $246,832 in restitution to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
According to the charge sheet, Cunha set at least 30 fires during the summers of 2006 and 2007, with two of the blazes burning onto federal land.
“Today’s sentence is a just result that takes a serial arsonist off the streets,” US Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a statement.
Officials said Cunha indicated he started the fires because he was bored and wanted to earn overtime money for fighting the blazes. He also wanted to impress his peers, they said.
Several of the fires were started with a time-delay incendiary device.