Grass Valley post office fire leads to third arrest for the week

A Nevada City man has been arrested three times in one week, most recently for allegedly lighting fires inside the Grass Valley post office.

Eric Theodore Hassan-Babin’s recent law enforcement woes started Dec. 18 after he allegedly got into a physical altercation with his father, striking him at one point with a metal crutch.

Hassan-Babin, 39, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse and was booked and released on $25,000 bail.

He was arrested again on Dec. 21 after he reportedly broke a pane in the front door of his father’s residence on the 11000 block of Red Dog Road, in violation of a restraining order.

“He was trying to get in,” said Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Tripp. “He said he was trying to retrieve his belongings.”

In that instance, Hassan-Babin was booked on suspicion of disobeying a court order and released on $750 bail.

On Christmas Day, a number of calls related to Hassan-Babin loitering inside the post office came into the Grass Valley Police Department, said Sgt. Alex Gammelgard.

At just after 6 p.m., a caller from the post office in the 100 block of East Main Street reported that a man had been standing inside staring at the caller through a window for a long time, and also had been following a woman who was checking her mail.

An officer contacted Hassan-Babin and he agreed to move on, according to dispatch reports.

At 7:30 p.m., a caller reported Hassan-Babin was lurking inside the post office and had been burning paper. Another call came in at 10:12 p.m., reporting the man appeared to have moved into the post office, and numerous personal items and clothes were strewn about.

“He was lighting pieces of paper on fire,” Gammelgard said.

“He said he was homeless and was trying to stay warm.”

Hassan-Babin was determined to be under the influence of alcohol, Gammelgard said. He was arrested on suspicion of arson and was booked into county jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated Dec 28, 2013 11:35AM Published Jan 24, 2014 03:35PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.