Homeless man suspected of burglary, arson in Chula Vista

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A transient was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of repeatedly burglarizing the office of a South Bay community group before torching the premises last week.

Christopher Treyvoun Jenkins, 28, allegedly set fire to the Chula Vista headquarters of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment shortly after midnight Friday, causing major damage to the structure and its contents, according to police.

Jenkins also is believed to have burglarized the H Street office in January and June, Chula Vista police Lt. Kenny Heinz said.

While investigating the crimes, detectives learned that Jenkins, who is homeless, “might have been residing on the property without permission from the property management company,” Heinz said.

“Jenkins told detectives that he was having an ongoing dispute with the tenants over the disposal of his personal property and committed the arson because of the dispute,” the lieutenant alleged.

Members of ACCE — which works on behalf of minorities and low-income residents, and was a prominent proponent of rent-control measures on this month’s election ballot — initially feared that the blaze was meant to intimidate them due to the nature of their work.

“We did not know who set the office on fire or their motivation, but given the information that we had and the political moment that we are in, many of us feared that the attack was politically motivated,” the organization stated in a social media posting Tuesday afternoon. “According to the police, this wasn’t the case.”

Heinz said investigators found “no evidence that these crimes were politically motivated or related to any hate crimes.”