A 68-year-old man traveled from Missouri to northern California to set over a dozen wildfires in two days then, tried to fly home, officials said.
Freddie Graham, flew to San Jose, California, last Thursday, Sept. 19, KPIX reported. After renting a car, he spent the next two days setting fires as he drove through a foothill area northeast of San Jose, Santa Clara County’s supervising deputy district attorney Bud Porter said.
“The fires were set with a lighter, setting paper on fire and throwing it out the window of the car,” prosecutors said.
Mugshot of Freddie Owen Graham, 68, of Missouri, arrested on suspicion of numerous counts of arson in connection with Reservoir Fire in Santa Clara County, per @CAL_FIRE @calfireSCU pic.twitter.com/uvmCqpnTKr
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) September 26, 2019
He’s believed to have set at least 13 fires—four on Friday, Sept. 20, and nine on Saturday, Sept. 21,—which are collectively referred to as the Reservoir Fire, the East Bay Times reported.
Although the fires caused no injuries or structural damage, they took dozens of firefighters using aircraft, bulldozers, and other equipment hours to extinguish.
Graham was arrested Monday, Sept. 23, while trying to return the rental car he used in the arson spree at a Hertz rental company location at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, NBC Bay Area reported.
Officials were alerted to Graham’s alleged involvement when a witness noticed his rental car during the rampage and took note of his license plate number and handed it to investigators.
Graham is charged with a number of offenses including 13 felony counts of arson of brush land, and two additional counts alleging an arson committed during a state of emergency.
Graham’s bail is set at $2 million. If he’s convicted of all counts, he faces up to 22 years in prison, KPIX reported.
— CALFIRENEWS (@CALFIRENEWS_CA) September 21, 2019