IHOP, 2299 Lombard Street.
|Neighbors in the
area of Bush and Leavenworth were surprised to discover that a notorious
criminal was living in their midst when Charley Charles, a resident
of the Empire Court apartments, was arrested
here for arson, burglary, weapons charges, and other offenses in June, 2001.
Seems that Charley, who worked as a handyman at the building and as a waiter
at the International House of Pancakes on Lombard, was none other than Charles
Rothenberg, the infamous Orange County arsonist who doused his six-year-old
son with kerosene and set him on fire during a custody dispute with his
wife in 1983. Rothenberg served about seven years of a 13-year
sentence for the attempted murder of his son, David, who survived the attack.
Also known as Charles Bocca, Rothenberg was paroled to Oakland and was later
acquitted of attempted murder in the 1996 shooting of an acquaintance at
a Travelodge there. The arsonist faces a possible sentence of 25 years to
life for the new charges which stem from a 5 a.m. fire in a
neighbor's Empire Court apartment and the stalking of another resident,
in addition to the weapons charges and other crimes. Mister SF
notes that the
arrest of Rothenberg in this neighborhood is somewhat ironic considering
that arson fires were not uncommon in this District in the years prior to
Rothenberg's move here from Oakland. Perhaps the reviled dad was attracted
to Bush Street like a moth to a flame. Rothenberg is portrayed by John Glover
in the 1988 TV movie "David," also starring Bernadette Peters and Matthew