A defense motion seeking a bail reduction for a 27-year-old man accused of setting a car on fire using an explosive device adjacent to a Riverside apartment complex was dropped Friday, resulting in the defendant remaining behind bars.
Carlos Octavio Orta of Corona was arrested April 8 following a nearly weeklong Riverside Police Department investigation into the alleged criminal offenses.
Orta is charged with arson resulting in property damage, unlawful possession of an explosive device and conspiracy. He pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Tuesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
After Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane ordered the defendant held on $35,000 bail, his public defender submitted a motion seeking a bail review hearing. However, she withdrew the motion Friday without explanation, and the judge scheduled a felony settlement conference for Wednesday.
The defendant is being held at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to Riverside police spokesman Officer Javier Cabrera, in the predawn hours of April 2, Orta allegedly rigged a plastic gas can to a sedan parked beneath a carport outside an apartment complex in the 2700 block of Atlanta Avenue, near Massachusetts Avenue.
The device triggered a blaze that enveloped the car, prompting 911 calls, Cabrera said.
He said fire crews put out the flames minutes later, after which officers and firefighters spotted the mechanism, which was emitting a “humming sound.”
The bomb squad was summoned and dismantled the contraption, confirming that it was an “improvised incendiary device,” according to Cabrera.
No suspects were located in the area. However, the ensuing investigation, to which Cal Fire arson investigators and FBI agents contributed, led to the identification of Orta as the alleged arsonist, the police spokesman said.
A search warrant was served at the defendant’s residence on E Street, where officers seized “multiple firearms, ammunition and bomb-making components like the ones used in the improvised incendiary device,” Cabrera said.
Orta was taken into custody without incident.
A possible motive for the alleged arson was not disclosed.
The defendant has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.