An alleged arson suspect was detained by the Escondido Police Department Thursday nbut investigators quickly determined he had nothing to do with the wildfires engulfing the county.
The man was briefly detained after a report of “suspicious behavior” near Stone Brewery, but was released by police shortly after questioning.
“There was no arrest. He was detained only for a report of suspicious behavior. But no reason to arrest or think the person was involved in an arson," said Lt. Neal Griffin.
Griffin said an officer acting on a citizen complaint about suspicious activity stopped and questioned the man. The officer, along with arson investigators, then determined that man was not involved in any illegal behavior of any kind, including arson.
Griffin said the man was quickly released and was never in custody and never arrested or taken to Escondido Police Department headquarters. He was never considered an arson suspect.
"A man was detained but it was determined there was no connection between him and the fire," Escondido officials added in a short statement released Thursday just before 4 p.m.
After nine separate fires sparked in different locations and times around the county, questions are being raised about what caused the brush fires that burned more than 9,000 acres around San Diego County.
Authorities ask that civilians report any suspicious behavior in connection with the fires to Crime Stoppers at (619) 235-8477.
Lee Swanson with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department released the following statement:
"All investigating agencies are working collaboratively in determining the origin and cause of the many fires throughout San Diego County. Anyone with any information regarding the fires is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers. The caller may remain anonymous and a reward may be offered if the information leads to a conviction."