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Irvine woman charged as suspect in series of arson cases

May 24, 2011

An Irvine woman was charged Tuesday as a suspected arsonist in six fires in that city dating to January, the Orange County district attorney's office said in a news release.

Jana Marie Spires, 38, was arrested after an Irvine police officer saw her leaving the playground late Saturday night at Springbrook Elementary School, where a pile of pizza boxes had been set on fire.

After authorities allegedly connected her to other recent fires, she was taken into custody over the weekend at the apartment in the same neighborhood as the school. Spires has been charged with five felony counts of arson of another's property and one felony count of arson of a structure, the release said.

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Among the alleged felonies, she is accused of setting a Mercedes Benz on fire on Jan. 23 and lighting a replica American flag made of acrylic that hung outside a homeowner's garage.

Spires was arraigned Tuesday at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, where a pre-trial hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. June 2 in Department H-1, the release said. She is being held on $50,000 bail.

Spires faces a maximum sentence of nine years and four months in state prison, if convicted of the charges.

—Imran Vittachi

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