Arson suspect ID’d by polka-dot shorts pleads not guilty

A social media post with this photo reportedly helped detectives catch an arson suspect this week. Courtesy of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station
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A man arrested on suspicion of arson for an alleged fire-setting at the back of a Ralphs supermarket last week, after allegedly being identified by his bright pink polka-dot shorts in an Instagram post, pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.

Spencer Greenberg, 29, of Valencia, appeared Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court where he entered his plea after officially being charged.

“He was charged (Wednesday) with one count of arson of a structure or forest,” Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

“He pleaded not guilty to the charge and is due back on July 8 for prelim setting,” he said, referring to the task of setting a date to have a preliminary hearing.

Greenberg was arrested Friday morning by deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on suspicion of setting a fire in the back of the Ralphs grocery store at 27760 McBean Parkway in Valencia, according to Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

Deputies had released Greenberg the same morning of the fire, after he had been arrested on suspicion of narcotics possession, according to Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

Later that same day, Greenberg was rearrested for the second time, again on suspicion of narcotics charges, while wearing his pink shorts and a dark-colored shirt, which led to an Instagram post by the sheriff’s station, documenting his distinctive clothing, according to another social media post from the sheriff’s station Friday night.

So when Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson and Explosive detectives sent out a bulletin to deputies a few days later, asking for their help in identifying their suspect, deputies were able to connect the dots, per the post.  

The bulletin included screenshots of the arson suspect, wearing the same bright pink shorts and dark-colored shirt, obtained from the store’s surveillance cameras, the post read.

With that information, arson detectives reportedly were able to continue with their investigation, and on Friday morning, Greenberg was located in Hawthorne and arrested for the third time in less than a week, this time on arson charges, according to Miller.

With files from Emily Alvarenga, Signal Staff Writer.

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