Cops nab suspect in toilet torching

An alleged porta-potty pyro is in deep doo-doo.

Michael Warner, 27, an apparent transient, was arrested soon after eight portable toilets and three portable hand-washing stations were torched at a Mission Bay construction site Saturday, police said Monday.

A witness who spotted the fires in the 400 block of Mission Bay Boulevard South around 7 p.m. saw the alleged loo lighter hopping a fence at the construction site, police said.

Responding cops detained Warner. The witness positively identified him at the scene, police said. Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said Warner was found with some kind of ignitable item, but did not specify.

The portable restrooms and hand-washing stations were “completely burned,” police said.

The incident recalls the notorious rash of portable-potty arsons in The City between November 2008 and February 2009. Nearly 30 portable toilets were set ablaze by a foul arsonist who was never caught.

The bathroom burnings had been centered in the North Beach, Marina and Russian Hill areas, with some in Potrero Hill, authorities said.

Cops believed the arsons abruptly stopped because the perpetrator was chucked in jail for a different crime.

Now the question is whether the Mission Bay arson was No. 1: the return of the loo lighter, or No. 2: the work of an equally foul copy cat.

However, arson investigators probing the latest blaze said the incident does not appear to be connected to the 2008-9 fires, San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

“[The investigators] definitely would not say it doesn’t appear to be related unless they were pretty darned certain,” Talmadge said.

Among the charges, Warner was booked on 11 counts of arson, Esparza said.

Warner is not believed to be connected to other arsons in The City, he said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

ArsonBay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocalportable toilets

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