NEW DETAILS REVEALED: Accused Chandler arsonist says he was 'overcome with urge to start fire'

Posted at 5:19 PM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 22:18:34-04

There's no hiding the burned cars, the torched fence and all the other damage left behind in Keith Vazquez's backyard.

Vazquez had some nice trucks that he was going to repair, but now they are badly burned. He says he will be lucky if he can sell them for parts.

And the cleanup is nowhere near done.

Vazquez said he's breathing a sigh of relief since police arrested Thomas Leeper, Jr., 31, for setting the fire.

"In some ways, you feel a little bad for him, but also it's something that he needs to suppress, you can't damage other peoples’ property,” Vazquez said.

Court paperwork shows that Leeper told police he was coming from the store when he was overcome with an urge to start a fire. 

In August, Leeper allegedly piled leaves together along a fence in an alley and used his lighter to set the fire. Police said he also confessed to setting a series of other blazes, including a vacant house.

"At least the community is at rest now. We don't have to start staring at everybody, wondering if that's the person," Vazquez said. "If we see kids in the alley now and I'm, like, watching them really carefully."

Leeper told police that he's struggled with his feelings for years. He was convicted of arson in New Jersey back in 2001 when he was 16 years old.

He is now facing several felony arson charges.