Greenfield: New Civic Center Torched

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Oct 14, 2007
Greenfield Police: Fire May Have Involved Gang

Greenfield Police: Fire May Have Involved Gang - Central Coast News Story - KSBW The Central Coast

POSTED: 7:39 pm PDT April 20, 2010

GREENFIELD, Calif. -- Greenfield police said they are looking at the possibility that an attack on a new civic center was a threatening message from a street gang.

Police said on Monday night someone tried to burn down the civic center currently under construction and police have called in federal agents to help with the investigation.

The new civic center is part city hall part police station, but it was the station that was targeted. City leaders and police are scheduled to move in this fall.

It wouldn't be the first time Greenfield police have been targeted by gangs. Last summer, gangsters shot up the old police station.

An officer on patrol noticed the fire at about 11:30 p.m. and grabbed a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

"We're taking this as an attack on the police department," said Greenfield Police Chief Joe Grebmeier.

The fire didn't cause much damage, but the potential was clearly there. Fire alarms and sprinklers have yet to be installed. All that is standing is a wood frame.

The police chief said it's arson and he called in Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents to help determine whether gangs are behind the fire bombing.

"We have not been making friends with the gangs," Grebmeier said.

Grebmeier said gangs targeted police last summer when they pumped half a dozen rounds into the old police station downtown. No one was hurt in that attack.

"We believe the drive-by shooting at the police station was in retaliation for some of the investigations we had going on at time," Grebmeier said.

Grebmeier said his department has taken a zero tolerance on gangs. He said his force has conducted numerous probation and parole searches and there are multiple investigations targeting Norteno gangsters who have a stronghold in the city.

The police chief not ruling out the possibility the same gangs tried to torch the city's new civic center.

"So we're pushing as hard as we can on the gangs and from time to time. It looks like they trying to push back," Grebmeier said.

Police said they recovered a container containing flammable liquid and will process that container for fingerprints.

The police chief said city hall will look at beefing up its security at the construction site...
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