Two homeless men lit on fire in attack at Thousand Oaks encampment


Two homeless men suffered minor burns during an attack at a Thousand Oaks encampment Tuesday afternoon, according to authorities.

Officers responded at 4:32 p.m. to the area of Lynn Road and the 101 Freeway where an attack had been reported in an encampment in an open space between the 101 and the Oaks mall, said Sgt. Timothy Lohman, a Thousand Oaks Police Department spokesman.

Investigators learned that the suspect and victims knew one another and identified the suspect as Robert Burn, Lohman said.

His age was not available but the police spokesman said Burn was born in 1987 and is a transient known to move around the Thousand Oaks area.

Burn allegedly entered a tent where he found the two victims, both adult males, and is accused of pouring a flammable liquid on them before lighting them on fire, Lohman said.

Both men had minor burns but did not need further medical treatment, he said. Burn fled and has not been located by authorities.

Burn is a 6-feet-1 white male with brown hair, green eyes and weighs about 200 pounds, Lohman said.

Fires at encampments in Los Angeles have increasingly worried authorities and left homeless people on edge.

Earlier this year, a Times analysis of Los Angeles Fire Department data showed that a third of the 15,610 fires related to homelessness from 2018 to March 2021 were classified as arson.

Some incidents included attacks on encampments by outsiders.

In 2019, 27-year-old Daniel Nogueira allegedly threw a firework into an encampment below the 2 Freeway in Eagle Rock, sparking a brush fire that injured homeless people and firefighters.

Nogueira has been charged, and his case is pending in L.A. County Superior Court.

Los Angeles County coroner’s office records showed 41 homeless people have died of burns or smoke inhalation since 2015, sometimes in combination with other causes.

Authorities started tracking fires related to homelessness after the 2017 Skirball fire was traced to a cooking fire in a ravine near Sepulveda Boulevard.

The blaze destroyed six homes and damaged a dozen others as it spread through Bel-Air.

After the Skirball blaze, LAFD started noting in reports whether fires were “homeless-related.”

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