No Charges Against Man Detained in Fire-Ravaged Area

Police say suspicious behavior and criminal record were not evidence of intent to loot homes

A man who was questioned by police for suspicious behavior in a neighborhood of evacuated homes will not be charged with any crime related to looting.

Brandon Gunn, 29, was found outside an empty home, in his car, last Thursday, in West Escondido.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told NBC 7 that her officers, who were assisting Escondido Police, thought Gunn’s presence in the deserted neighborhood was suspicious.

Chief Zimmerman said officers questioned Gunn, and determined he had no reason to be in that area.

They also checked Gunn’s arrest record, and found he had criminal history that includes at least one prior theft conviction, and an active, outstanding warrant for theft.

Officers arrested Gunn on those warrants, and booked him at the Vista jail, on $75,000 bail.
After his arrest, Chief Zimmerman told NBC 7 that her officers had “likely prevented a looting situation” by detaining Gunn.

Gunn appeared in court Monday afternoon on the outstanding warrants, but San Diego Police confirm that Gunn does not face any new criminal charges related to his suspicious presence in that fire-ravaged neighborhood.

In stories broadcast Monday morning, NBC 7 wrongly reported that Gunn would be arraigned Monday on looting charges.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis also revealed that a third arson suspect is also in custody.

Dumanis told reporters that Alberto Serrato, 57, was allegedly seen adding dry brush to a small fire in the San Luis Rey river bed, in Oceanside.

That fire is not one of the large wild-fires that have swept through the county this week, but Serrato is still charged with a felony, for allegedly committing arson on a forest land.

Jail records show that Serrato was arrested Wednesday night by Oceanside police, and is now at the Vista jail, on $75,000 bail.

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