Rhea Mahbubani

Palo Alto Police Investigate Four Suspicious Early Morning Fires

Police have released a surveillance photo of a man seen in the area of the fires, but aren't sure if he's connected to any of them. They are seeking the public's help in identifying him.

Police in Palo Alto are investigating four suspicious fires set to cars, trash and brush early Friday morning — all within walking distance and hours of each other.

Police released a surveillance photo of a man seen walking in the area just before one of the fires, but investigators still aren't sure if he's connected to that fire or any of the others. They are seeking the public's help in identifying the potential suspect.

The first fire was reported at about 2 a.m. at the Caltrain parking lot in the 600 block of Urban Lane. A vehicle was set on fire there and was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. The vehicle was significantly damaged.

At 4:25 a.m., firefighters responded to another fire in the 100 block of Palo Alto Avenue, where they found a fire inside a dumpster.

About an hour after that, another small fire was reported in a parking garage in the 500 block of High Street. At about the same time, a brush fire was reported along a bicycle path near Homer Avenue and Alma Street.

No one was injured, but all of the fires are considered suspicious, which has shocked people who live in that part of the Bay Area city.

"I don't like it at all," Ann Roper.

Kirbi Yelorda echoed the same sentiment, saying, "I hope they get to the bottom of it."

Police are investigating whether they may be related, but found a surveillance video of a person walking in the area of Palo Alto Avenue shortly before the fire began.

The man was wearing a beanie-type cap, a light-colored long sleeve shirt, dark-colored pants, and a backpack, police said.

"There’s a lot of dry leaves and things around here," Yelorda said. "It's concerning for sure but I believe our police department will take care of it."

Anyone who recognizes the person or has further information about the fire has been asked to call Palo Alto police at (650) 329-2413 or via the tip line at (650) 383-8984.

NBC Bay Area's Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.

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