South Lake Tahoe police: Known arsonist robbed family member, attempted to start 4 fires
Police arrested a man they say attempted to start multiple fires in South Lake Tahoe after he robbed a family member.
The alleged crime spree started Monday, July 16, when South Lake Tahoe police responded to a reported robbery in the 1000 block of Echo Avenue.
Through an investigation, police determined Eric Almdale, a 43-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident, had threatened to kill a family member over money. He fled the scene after receiving the money, according to police.
Just under 12 hours later, officers responded to an alarm in the 2200 block of Helen Avenue. Upon arriving at the scene around 12:36 a.m., officers discovered a window had been removed in order to enter the residence, according to police. Inside officers found evidence that someone had attempted to start a fire.
The blaze burned portions of the walls and floor, but appeared to have extinguished itself, according to police. South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue was dispatched to ensure there was no further threat.
Nearly three hours after officers responded to the alarm, Almdale walked into Barton Memorial Hospital and started cutting up the waiting room furniture with a knife.
Police responded and booked him into custody. Shortly after, officers determined Almdale was responsible for the fire on Helen Avenue.
According to police, Almdale then told officers he had started three other fires that night in wooded areas near the Y.
Police located areas that had been freshly burned. Those fires also appeared to have self-extinguished.
Officers say Almdale is a known “arson registrant” with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. In 2012 Almdale reportedly lit a trailer on fire in the 800 block of James Avenue.
Two people in the trailer had to be rescued by firefighters.
Almdale was booked into the El Dorado County jail for arson of an inhabited dwelling, and robbery.