A suspected arsonist was arrested Monday after a spate of suspicious fires erupted outside Westfield Horton Plaza mall, destroying a food kiosk, damaging a roadside trash receptacle and scorching a discarded suitcase.
The first of the three blazes broke out shortly before 5 a.m. and gutted a dessert-crepe cart outside the main entrance to the shopping center.
Less than an hour later, the contents of a refuse container in the 200 block of Broadway and a small piece of luggage lying next to a nearby bus stop also were found burning, said Sgt. Rick Pechin of the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team.
A surveillance camera captured images of a man setting fire to the trash can, and investigators used the footage to track down the alleged perpetrator, identified as 58-year-old Brian Keith Smith. The suspect was taken into custody in the area without incident about 6 a.m., Pechin said.
Smith was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of one count of arson. He was being held on $50,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday.
The fires occurred two months after a hot dog cart was torched at the same downtown mall. Smith is under investigation in connection with that blaze as well as the three that took place Monday morning, the sergeant said.
— City News Service
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: