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SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) will be seeking to have a defendant held without bail for committing a series of arsons after the Irvine Police Department (IPD) discovered e-mails by the defendant detailing plans to murder students and administrators at an Irvine high school.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, Irvine, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, is charged with two felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of arson of a structure, one felony count of arson of an inhabited residence, one felony count of attempted arson, and one misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison. The People will be requesting the defendant be held without bail at his arraignment today, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
In March 2012, Reinscheid’s 14-year-old son, who attended University High School in Irvine, was disciplined at school. Sometime subsequent to this, the defendant’s son committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine.
Between July 4, 2012, and July 24, 2012, Reinscheid is accused of committing five arsons and one attempted arson by lighting various objects on fire including newspapers, fireplace logs, brush and vegetation, a book, and a plastic porch chair. He is accused of committing these arsons on the campus of University High School, in Mason Park Preserve, and at a school administrator’s home.
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On July 27, 2012, IPD detectives discovered e-mails on the defendant’s cell phone in the course of their investigation. The defendant is accused of sending e-mails to his wife and one to himself in April 2012 describing in detail his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, purchase firearms and murder school officials and students, and then kill himself.
Following the discovery of these e-mails and based on linking the defendant to additional arsons, Reinscheid was re-arrested on the evening of July 27, 2012, by IPD. The OCDA believes Reinscheid poses a serious threat to the community if released from custody, and will argue to have him held without bail in light of the dangerous, violent nature of his private e-mails.
Law enforcement believes Reinscheid acted alone and he is the only defendant and suspect in this case. The high school and school district have been notified of this case.
Anyone with additional information or who believes they have had suspicious contact with the defendant is asked to leave a message on the District Attorney’s Special Investigations hotline at (714) 347-8544.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.