SALT LAKE CITY – Authorities have released the names of two people accused of squatting in a vacant home and then setting it on fire Saturday.
Both the suspects are homeless; officials said this is an example of why residents are concerned “Operation Rio Grande” is pushing members of the homeless community to places like this.
Police said 37-year-old Carlos Ojeda Chaparro and 33-year-old Sabrina Holm were arrested a short time after leaving the fire near 211 North Cornell St. Saturday.
Neighbors tell Fox 13 squatters frequently occupied the house.
The property owner Peter Corroon, who is the former Utah Democratic Party chairman, claims Chaparro intentionally started the blaze as he and Holm were being removed from the property.
Corroon said he has boarded up the residence several times but that squatters keep coming back.
He says ultimately he wants to tear down the house because he knows the vicious cycle will continue.
But he says the city has an ordinance which requires a homeowner to have a new building permit already in hand before they can knock down a vacant building like this.
Corroon said he is hoping the city can tweak or amend the law to allow homeowners like him to tear down places like this because he knows they are very attractive to squatters.
Meanwhile, this marks the 35th time Carlos Chaparro has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
He and Holm remain behind bars on multiple charges, the most serious being aggravated arson.