Another homeless man arrested for arson in SLO

July 27, 2016
Mario Furtado

Mario Furtado

San Luis Obispo police arrested a homeless man for starting fires in a dumpster and two trash cans on Madonna Road Tuesday morning. The incident marked the second time this year police accused a homeless man of starting a fire in the area.

It is unknown, though, whether either suspect is responsible for any of the numerous other arson incidents that have occurred in the city over the past couple years.

At about 6:05 a.m., officers and firefighters responded to the 200 block of Madonna Road where it was reported that a dumpster and two trash cans were lit on fire. About 30 minutes after arriving at the scene, an officer detained 32-year-old Mario Furtado, who was still in the area.

The initial investigation indicated Furtado had set the fires, a police department press release states. Officers checked nearby businesses and found surveillance footage which showed a person resembling Furtado starting the fires in the dumpster and trash cans.

Police arrested Furtado and charged him with arson. Investigators do not believe any other suspects were involved in Tuesday’s incident.

San Luis Obispo officers are still investigating dozens of fires that arsonists set over the last two years. Many of the recent arson fires have been set in areas where homeless people congregate, and some have targeted homeless people’s belongings.

A fire set in February behind a San Luis Obispo Vons burned a homeless woman’s belongings while she was sleeping. In March, police charged another homeless man with arson.

That arson suspect, Daniel Delgado, also allegedly set a fire in the 200 block of Madonna Road. Delgado started a small fire next to a gas pump at the Shell station at 204 Madonna Road, according to the police department. Officer ultimately located Delgado in county jail, where he was booked on other charges.

Officers booked Furtado in jail on Tuesday morning. Furtado remains in custody with his bail set at $65,000, according to the county sheriff’s office website. In addition to two counts of arson, he also faces charges of possession of stolen property and disorderly conduct or refusing to identify.

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I thought Dee Dee was taking care of these folks.

She is only taking care of their state assistance checks.

The large majority of homeless people are homeless because of mental illness and drug/alcohol abuse, or both. The state’s mental healthcare system was broken apart under pressure from people claiming to be fighting to protect the civil rights of the mentally ill. They fought to get them out of mental health facilities and back on the streets. They fought to close the hospitals and they succeeded. Now, our jails and prisons house the mentally ill and the rest sleep on the street…..Does that sound like progress???? Are these people better off now that their civil rights have been “protected”???

It was Reagan who closed the mental facilities, if you have forgotten.

I don’t know if I’ve said this before or not, but when is the Prado Road Homeless Shelter going to be built so they can at least house transients like Mario Furtado between their criminal acts around San Luis Obispo?


This story seems to be a good lead-in to tell my grandfather and pigeons story.

One summer when I was young I spent a month with my grand-dad (I kept a journal, so I have some fond detail). Shortly after my arrival he decided we should walk to the park. We spent a great day in the park, having typical park activities. Grand-dad pushed me on the swing, I played, and he read a book on the bench.

At one point I became interested in some of the pigeons that stalked about, keeping their distance. I tried to approach them, but they flew off each time. Grand-dad suggested that the next time we would bring some food for the pigeons – I was ecstatic! I could not wait.

The next day we arrived at the park. It was the same scene as before, and I was ready to feed the pigeons! We tossed out the grain or oats my grand-dad brought, and some of the pigeons approached cautiously, wary of us humans. They would scurry up, snatch some snacks, and hurry away to a safe distance. I was thrilled, and so was grand-dad (he found something to entertain me).

The third day we arrived with the same plan, and the pigeons seemed much more accepting, eager to greet us, in fact. They became more numerous, aggressive, and competitive for their new snacks. So much fun. I was very popular with the pigeons! They loved me.

The fourth day was, again, a repeat, but this time a little overwhelming. Some pigeons were gathered before we arrived, and once we pulled out the food bag they all seemed to rush in close. Grand-dad was not enjoying it so much. He subtly began to kick his feet at the ones crowding him, and he was muttering that they were “so dirty”. I was still enthralled, but understood his concerns.

By the fifth day a fair sized flock of birds were in the vicinity when we arrived. The park bench and sidewalk was noticeably covered in bird droppings, which was not apparent before. The park had always been clean, but now grand-dad could not find a clean spot on the bench. So, we stood, instead of sitting, and threw out our pigeon snacks. They snatched it up, and our standard bag only lasted a minute. It did not seem fun any more. The pigeons were aggressive, the place stunk, grand-dad was not enjoying it, and it was taking considerably more food to keep them all satisfied.

It originally made me feel good to feed the pigeons, and I thought they liked me. But it soon became apparent to me, even as a young child, the pigeons had no affinity for me, they were dirty, and they made my park less desirable.

We both agreed to stop feeding the pigeons.

Kind of reminds me of what happen outside the DNC Convention last night with the Bernie Sanders people setting fires, protesting, and madder than hell as they were lead to the trough but not allowed to drink. Very sad!

Bird feeders are just Hawk feeders anyway. I had a bird feeder and it did bring many little birds and doves to my yard. It also brought big birds…birds that eat little birds so I took it down. But while it was still up I did get the feeling the Hawks liked me…lol