Phoenix, Arizona Gangs Use Arson in Retaliation

May 24, 2011

Police have arrested five alleged gang members in connection to a string of arson fires in northwest Phoenix.

Phoenix police say 19-year-old Robert Patonai was arrested Thursday.

They say four other suspects taken into custody are minors.

Police say Patonai is suspected in an arson that occurred in February at a Christian school.

The Arizona Republic reports the four juveniles were involved in four incidents on April 19 when three vehicles were set on fire and a Molotov cocktail was thrown into an occupied home.

It’s unclear Friday whether any of the five suspects have legal representation yet.

Authorities say the arsons caused more than $20,000 in damages.

More arrests are expected as the joint investigation by the Phoenix Fire Department and the Phoenix Police Gang Enforcement Unit continues.

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