A longstanding war over parking spaces between a man and his Excelsior district neighbors exploded, literally, last Wednesday when an incendiary device was detonated in a planter outside one neighbor's home. Police arrested 32-year-old James Novello, a paramedic with the San Francisco Fire Department, in connection with the explosion, and as ABC 7 reports, multiple neighbors pointed the finger at him, blaming him for other insane-sounding acts of vandalism. Apparently, Novello really, really hates it when anyone besides him parks on the street outside his home.
This war has been happening, as CBS 5 also tells us, on the 100 block of Madrid Street, and the same night of the explosion, another neighbor said their house was vandalized.
Neighbors reported hearing an explosion between midnight and 3 a.m. on Wednesday, and one neighbor discovered the remnants of the explosive device in his planter later that morning. Another neighbor reported seeing Novello standing outside his home at the time of the explosion. According to NBC Bay Area, the same neighbor outside whose home the explosion occurred also told police his house had been egged the same night.
Upon investigation, police found explosive materials in Novello's home.
At least a half dozen cars had had their tires slashed recently as well. According to the Chronicle, the scuffles over spaces began with anonymous notes found on windshields and soon escalated to broken car windows, and the tire slashings the Chron only reports one neighbor as having had his tires slashed. Most of the neighbors wanted to remain anonymous in the reports for fear of retaliation.
Novello was arrested on suspicion of possessing a destructive device and possession or manufacture of an incendiary device, and he's been placed on non-working status by the SFFD. Jonathan Baxter, spokesman for the department, only said, "We’re aware of the incident and working collaboratively with the police department."
Reportedly, though he'd lived there for several years, Novello remained an "outsider" on what is otherwise a tight-knit block known for its block parties.