Arson Suspect Arrested in Planned Parenthood Fire

An arrest has been made in connection with a fire in September at a Planned Parenthood building in Thousand Oaks, officials said.

Alvaro Perez, 24, of Oxnard, was arrested on Tuesday. He is currently in custody on charges of battery, vandalism, violation of a domestic restraining order, domestic-spousal battery and possession of a firearm, authorities said. He has several open cases, one of which he is currently awaiting sentencing on.

"Through various investigative methods and techniques, detectives developed overwhelming evidence that Perez had carried out the arson at Planned Parenthood," Ventura County Sheriff's Department officials said in a news release. "Investigators are confident that the criminal acts perpetrated against Planned Parenthood by Perez stemmed from an ongoing domestic feud and at no point fell into the category of extremism."

The fire was reported before midnight Sept. 30 in the 1200 block of West Hillcrest Drive and likely started when someone tossed a container with a flammable liquid through a window, investigators with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department said. Firefighters responded and found a small fire burning in the lobby, which activated the sprinkler system, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The sprinkler system put out the fire, which caused minimal damage, firefighters said. More significant damage was caused by water from the sprinkler system, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Jenna Tosh, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, told NBC4 at the time that the same location was targeted by vandals in August.

"It's always very disappointing whenever you hear that something like this has happened," Tosh said.

The health center provides cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted disease tests and other services. Planned Parenthood has faced recent criticism and congressional backlash for its practice of supplying tissue from aborted fetuses for scientific research.

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