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Surveillance video: California man arrested for trying to plant ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend’s car, authorities say

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Three people have been arrested for allegedly starting a car fire following an attempted car bomb — and it all started with a man whose motive was to damage the vehicle of the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend, according to investigators.

It happened in the early hours of April 2 at a Southern California apartment complex. The incident was captured on surveillance video.

“The surveillance video showed us that there were two suspects. There was a suspect who appeared to be a man who broke the rear window and placed an explosive device in the back,” said Rafael Llamas of the Riverside Fire Department Arson Unit.

The lamas were part of a multi-agency investigation to determine who made and placed the incendiary device.

The car owner’s girlfriend provided the first clue to the suspect’s identity.

“She said it was her ex-boyfriend who planted a gas bomb,” said Brenda Holdsworth, a resident of the resort who spoke to the victim.

She also told Holdsworth and authorities that her ex-boyfriend made bombs as a hobby.

Investigators then identified suspect Carlos Octavio Orta, 27, of Corona.

During a search of Orta’s home, materials to make the device and several weapons were found, according to investigators.

“He said he wanted to damage his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend’s vehicle,” Llamas said.

Investigators said that after Orta planted the device, he returned to a car driven by his current girlfriend and attempted to detonate the bomb.

“He returns to the vehicle with a detonator in his hand (…) at that point he pulled the trigger several times without anything happening,” Llamas said.

After Orta’s first attempt failed, that’s when he decided to set up a more rudimentary device, but this time it wasn’t Orta’s investigators who saw the surveillance video: it was his new flame.

“He makes her throw a Molotov cocktail inside the vehicle,” Llamas said.

Police were able to catch up with the woman – who was identified as Daniela Nunez – after Orta was arraigned on multiple felony charges related to the attempted car bomb.

Llamas said Nunez came to court wearing the same shoes seen in the surveillance video.

“Without the surveillance video, we would have no idea there were two suspects in this incident,” Llamas said.

The video also led investigators to a third suspect, identified as Alexis Garcia, who authorities say was in the car and was an accomplice to the plot.

Orta has since pleaded guilty to three crimes related to the incident.

Nunez and Garcia await their day in court.

Despite the dangerous situation, no one was injured.

“It would have been, but the lives of our firefighters who were there to put out the fire were in danger and everyone around the apartment complex,” Llamas said.

Once firefighters put out the fire, that’s when they discovered the plastic gas canister with wires attached and heard a buzzing sound coming from the device.

Residents were evacuated while the bomb squad was called in to remove and secure the device.

“As for the explosive device, it slightly melted the fuel canister that was the bomb, but not enough to catch fire,” Llamas said.

The incident is still under investigation.

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