Saanich Police have arrested a 38 year old male in connection with a series of small fire related incidents that occurred on Sunday, June 21.
Police were alerted to the first incident at approximately 9:10 a.m. in a small park located on Shelbourne Street, directly across the street from the A&W restaurant, near the intersection of Shelbourne and Cedar Hill X Road.
Several witnesses reported seeing flames coming from a table top of a picnic table within the small park. About a six foot strip on Shelbourne Street, approximately 1 foot wide, was also noted to be ablaze for a short period of time.
Both of these fire scenes appeared to be related and occurred simultaneously. Both appeared to have been deliberately set.
Witnesses were sucessful in dousing the picnic bench with water to extinguish the blaze prior to the arrival of emergency responders. Remnants of what appeared to be a glass bottle were recovered from the centre of the roadway near the site of the second fire. It was believed that an accelerant would have been contained within the bottle prior to these incidents.
A person of interest was observed in the area around the time of the incidents. He was described as a Caucasian male, approximately 30 years of age, with short blonde hair, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, shorts, and carrying a backpack.
At approximately 2 p.m. the same day, witnesses reported a suspicious male sitting on a bench behind a service station near the intersection of Shelbourne Street and Cedar Hill X Road. The male had been observed lighting what appeared to be a bible on fire with a lighter.
Officers located the male and found him in possession of a lighter. A partially burned bible was located directly in front of the male, who was then arrested for Arson.
Investigators believe, based on witness information, that the arrested individual was the same person of interest in the earlier fires, less than one block from the location of his arrest.
The male was interviewed and later released on a Promise to Appear and an Undertaking with conditions. One of the release conditions was for the male not to possess any incendiary devices, including lighters.
The male, who is known to police, has several prior convictions for Mischief, however, no apparent convictions for Arson.
Investigators will be submitting information to Crown Counsel requesting charges of Arson be laid against the suspect.
Police are asking anyone with information about these incidents to contact the Saanich Police Department at 250-475-4321, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Files 2015-12867 / 2015-12886
Sgt. Steve Eassie #158