Tweet fuels Muni arson case 

click to enlarge Toll of flames: Police say small fires set at the Castro Muni station on Wednesday caused $2,000 in damage. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Toll of flames: Police say small fires set at the Castro Muni station on Wednesday caused $2,000 in damage.

Teenagers accused of breaking into Muni’s Castro station early Wednesday and setting several fires are recent graduates of two different private high schools in San Francisco — and one of the brainiacs might have tweeted about the bizarre crime.

Timothy Abellera and Brian Hinchion, both 19-year-olds from San Francisco, were arrested after allegedly breaking into the station and setting several fires about 3:30 a.m., police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.

The station was closed at the time and there were no service disruptions, Muni said.

Abellera, a 2010 graduate of St. Ignatius High School, and Hinchion, who graduated the same year from Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, were allegedly busted by a janitor.

The janitor had been preparing to take his break when he smelled smoke and saw the two inside the station, Andraychak said.

Only minutes before his arrest, a message was posted to a Twitter account belonging to Abellera that might not play well in a courtroom.

“Breaking into muni underground is fine,” the message said.

Officers detained the teenagers aboveground at Castro and Market streets, Andraychak said.

“From there, the officers met with a janitor, conducted further investigation and determined they were the suspects,” Andraychak said.

The teenagers were trying to set phone books on fire and remove advertisements, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.
The blazes caused more than $2,000 in damage to the station, Andraychak said.

Police declined to discuss a motive in the case, citing an active investigation.

Both young men are facing multiple felony charges, including two counts of arson, one count of burglary, one count of malicious mischief and one count of possessing a device to start fires, Andraychak said.

The Castro station has seen its share of vandalism. Last fall, a bronze plaque honoring assassinated Supervisor Harvey Milk was pilfered. The plaque, worth $10,000, had been bolted to a wall.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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