Weird news: California dentist charged with multiple counts of arson

February 9, 2015

California dentist Leopold Weinstein, 63, was arrested for allegedly setting fire to two rival dentist practices, according to authorities.

California dentist Leopold Weinstein, 63, was arrested for allegedly setting fire to two rival dentist practices, according to authorities.

Weinstein, also known as Dr. Leo, is charged with three counts of arson of a structure, three counts of attempted arson of a structure and possession of a silencer. He was booked at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Main Jail and his bail was set at $250,000. He pled not guilty.

Weinstein, a member of the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association, practices at Spanish Hills Dental Group and allegedly set fire to offices in Camarillo, the same city in which his practice is located. His website says he has practiced dentistry for more than 25 years.

The arson investigation began in June 2014 when maintenance workers found large amounts of flammable liquids on the roof of a dental building less than three miles from Weinstein's office.

Related reading: Ex-dentist suspected as bank robber

Almost two weeks later, another dental practice burned. There was evidence of three more arson attempts on the same two buildings on July 24, Sept. 12 and Sept. 19, according to authorities.

Police obtained a lead when someone saw a truck in the parking lot of one of the buildings. Because it was late at night, the person took a picture of the truck and gave it to investigators, who identified it as belonging to Weinstein.

Authorities apprehended Weinstein after viewing surveillance footage of him pouring flammable liquid to the roof of an office and lighting it on fire.

He allegedly set six fires in a span of seven months.

The motive is suspected to be financial. Records from the county recorder’s office show Weinstein had three liens from the California Employment Development Department and one lien from the IRS in 2012. Two of the EDD liens-one for $4,441 and one for $3,544- have been paid. The remaining EDD lien for $3,806 has not been paid and may have accrued interest. Weinstien’s lien from the IRS, about $72,935, has not been paid either.

Related reading: 7 weirdest dental stories of 2014