East Bay

Authorities May Release Name of Suspect Accused of Igniting Several Cars on Fire in Contra Costa County

Authorities on Monday may release the name of a 36-year-old suspect who faces 43 different arson charges for his alleged role in a series of suspicious vehicle fires reported recently in Contra Costa County.

Last week, seven cars parked across Contra Costa County went up in flames under the cover of darkness. An investigation coordinated by several law enforcement agencies eventually ended with an arrest in Benicia early Saturday.

A 36-year-old man has been arrested for his alleged role in torching several cars across Contra Costa County, according to authorities.

"We're confident that he is responsible for the charges that we are bringing against him," Contra Costa County Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said Saturday.

Fire officials on Friday said the blazes, which ranged in location from Lafayette to Brentwood, were all related.

"There have been commonalities between all of the fires that we know of that the suspect is currently being charged with," Contra Costa County Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said Saturday. "There were common threads."

Fire investigators in the East Bay say a recent string of car fires are related. Thom Jensen reports.

The latest in a rash of Contra Costa County car fires that has East Bay residents on edge were reported early Friday morning — one in Walnut Creek and the other in Lafayette. Investigators confirmed Friday that the two overnight fires were related to five others that have been reported earlier in the week — two in Brentwood and one each in Walnut Creek, Lafayette and Martinez.

Two more car fires in Contra Costa County Friday morning add to the growing number of suspicious blazes in the region. Rick Boone reports.

It is not clear if the suspect was working alone, and authorities could not disclose if he has a previous criminal record, Marshall said. The suspect's bail has been set at over $3.1 million.

Despite the arrest, Marshall warned East Bay residents to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. He also encouraged them to make sure their front yards are well lit.

Anyone with information regarding the fires is encouraged to contact 1-866-50-ARSON.

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