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California police say arson suspect targeted groomsmen after failed marriage

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MARTINEZ, Calif. >> A man in Northern California was charged with arson after he allegedly set fire to homes and cars belonging to his groomsmen in revenge for not supporting him after his marriage fell apart, authorities said Tuesday.

Joshua Van Buskirk, 33, was arrested last month and later charged in connection to a string of arson fires in Pleasant Hill, Antioch, and Concord. Though he acknowledges the rift with his groomsmen, Van Buskirk denied the charges.

“It tore me apart because I’d been there for them,” Van Buskirk told the Contra Costa Times in a jailhouse interview ( “They didn’t even reach out to me or care one bit.”

When asked if he committed the arsons, he said “No sir.”

The bizarre case began Oct. 12, when a pickup truck belonging to one of Van Buskirk’s groomsman’s was set ablaze in Pleasant Hill. A Joker playing card was left at the scene. At the time, he and his wife were going through a divorce to end their four-year marriage.

On December 23, Van Buskirk allegedly torched another groomsman’s truck in Antioch, leaving behind another Joker card, police said. The following day another groomsman was home asleep with his family when Van Buskirk allegedly torched his garage door.

Investigators identified Van Buskirk as a suspect when they linked the victims in each of the three blazes to his wedding party and after a search of his home allegedly turned up evidence linking him to the fires, police said.

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