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Seven Arson Arrests Mark Busy Start To New Year In Contra Costa County

Photo: File

CONCORD, CALIF., FEB. 10, 2021 – Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (ConFire) today announced the arrests of seven arson suspects, in eight separate cases in just over 30 days in January and early February.

Details for each arrest follow:
On Jan. 6, security officers at the County East Mall on Somersville Road in Antioch witnessed a male suspect setting fire to a trash can at the entrance. Antioch Police and the Con Fire Investigator arrived on scene and detained the suspect who admitted having set the garbage can on fire. The subject, Anthony Cummings, 27 of Vallejo was taken into custody and transported to Martinez Detention Facility and booked for Arson to Property, (PC § 451(d)), a felony.

On Jan 16, working with Walnut Creek Police Department, Con Fire investigators arrested a suspect accused of starting fires in a commercial complex under construction in the 1900 block of North California, Walnut Creek. Arrested for Arson to an Occupied Structure, (PC § 451(b)), a felony, was Tristan Miano, 30, a resident of Pittsburg. Investigation revealed the suspect had set three separate fires on a concrete subfloor at the construction site.

On Jan. 17, Con Fire firefighters responded to a commercial structure fire on Memorial Way in Pittsburg, where they observed an individual attempting to exit the structure through a hole in the roof. Arriving on scene, the Con Fire investigator questioned the suspect who admitted having intentionally set the fire before attempting to flee. The investigator arrested the suspect who attempted to flee on foot before being hand-cuffed. Arrested was Mandell Jeter, 24, a transient. He was arrested for Arson to a Structure (PC § 451(d)), a felony, and Resisting Arrest (PC § 148(a)), a misdemeanor. The building sustained damage to the interior as a result of the fire.

On Jan. 18, Con Fire investigators, working with Pleasant Hill Police, identified and arrested a suspect in an exterior fire on Ellinwood Drive in Pleasant Hill. In this case, the suspect fled on foot as Con Fire and PHPD responded. Other units arriving on-scene located and detained the suspect who was recognized by the Con Fire investigator as having been in the vicinity of other recent fires set in the same area. Jonathan Erick Duke, 34, a transient resident of Pleasant Hill was arrested for Arson to Property (PC § 451(d)), a felony. Duke was cited and released pending further investigation.

On Jan. 23, Con Fire investigators working with Pleasant Hill Police responded to witness reports of a transient man setting fire to a Christmas tree at the end of Santa Monica Drive, Pleasant Hill. Arriving on scene, Pleasant Hill PD detained Jonathon Duke, 34 who admitted setting the tree on fire. He was transported to the Martinez Detention Facility and booked for Arson to Property, (PC § 452(d)), a misdemeanor. Duke had been arrested previously on Jan. 18 and released. Con Fire Investigators are continuing to investigate if Duke is connected to several other recent fires in the area.

On Feb. 4, Con Fire investigators arrested Jason Myers, 40, on L Street in Antioch for intentionally setting a fire at the Diablo Creek Golf Course one year before. In the early morning hours of Jan. 19, 2020, investigators had responded to a fire at the golf course that destroyed an RV, a box truck, three golf carts, and extensively damaged a maintenance garage with adjoining office. Surveillance video at the time led investigators to Myers, a former employee of the golf course. He was interviewed but denied being involved and there was not enough evidence to arrest him at the time. Investigation continued, and on Feb. 4, 2021, Myers was contacted and presented with new evidence. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the Concord Police Department where he was booked.

On Feb. 5, Con Fire crews responded to a structure fire in a 45-unit apartment complex in Walnut Creek, where investigation revealed the fire had been intentionally set by a resident after an argument with his wife. Surveillance video of a suspect leaving the area of the fire was obtained and the suspect was identified. The suspect information was shared with Walnut Creek PD, which located the subject some five hours later. Con Fire investigators responded and interviewed the suspect, Randall Griffey-Shay, 32, a Walnut Creek resident and arrested him for Arson to an Inhabited Structure (PC § 451(b)), a felony. He was transported and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for Aggravated Arson to an Inhabited Structure (PC § 451(d)), a felony.

On Feb. 7, a subject was observed in the vicinity of Harrison Street and Concord Avenue in Concord lighting a Christmas ornament in the middle of the street. He was further seen by witnesses to have lit a piece of paper near the back wall of the nearby Walgreens store. Positively identified by witnesses, Robert Currier, 26, a transient living in Concord, admitted to lighting the objects to responding Concord Police. He was was arrested, transported and cited by Concord Police for Unlawful Fire of Property, (PC § 452(d)) and released.


    • I would wager some are caused by warming fires and some are acts of vengeance or merely senseless acts of destruction. If a person or business doesn’t give you what you want or need and you have nothing else but a lighter or box of matches it doesn’t take much for a person to cause damage.

  1. California. Eureka! Home to millionaires, billionaires, and homeless as far as the eye can see. It reads like a gold rush! We have come so far to find ourselves precisely at 0,0 on the grid.

  2. You can do a lot of damage with a 30 cent book of matches. All it takes is motive and opportunity and unfortunately there’s a lot of sickness in people these days.

  3. It would be interesting to know how many fires can be directly tied to homelessness in this state and country — and how much those fires are costing us.

    • I suspect you mean Bums & Junkies. That said, likely hundreds-thousands of fires annually costing millions to hundreds of millions in repairs, insurance, investigation and lost revenue.

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