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San Francisco police release surveillance photos of SoMa arson suspect

San Francisco police have released surveillance photos of a man accused of setting fires in the South of Market neighborhood Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect and possibly others responsible for a series of arson fires in the city's South of Market neighborhood since earlier this month.

Since about June 17, there have been several fires at construction sites, occupied buildings and garbage receptacles along Market Street and in the South of Market area.



Police have released three photos of a man believed to be responsible for the fires. In one of the photos, he is seen wearing a tan shirt and a black San Francisco Giants baseball cap. In another, the same man is wearing a blue and green-checkered shirt.



"No I haven't seen anybody like that around, but that's too bad. It's not good. It's not good for everybody, it's a waste of resources," construction worker Mike Nathan said.

Construction workers are already on high alert in the area of First and Harrison streets. The gas station on that corner has a sign posted in the window asking people to look out for anyone filling an unauthorized container with gas.

"The guy at the cashier, he's the one who just told me that pretty much just keep an eye out, just keep an eye out because supposedly there was somebody going around asking about gas. He says that they're claiming that he ran out of gas down the street and that he just wants to buy gas. So he has a container that he carries around, so that's what we were told," construction worker Junior Rojas said.

The police and fire department have created an arson task force dedicated to finding the person who set fires to dumpsters, cars and construction sites over the past three weeks. Construction employees say it's frustrating to know someone is trying to destroy their work.

"You're trying to build something and someone is trying to tear it down, so it's got to be somebody doing something that probably has some type of, either inside deal or an agenda because something is going on their neighborhood they don't like," Nathan said.

Workers are glad that cameras in the area are helping police.

"He'll get caught, hopefully and then they should make an example of him," Nathan said.

It's not just construction workers who are worried, residents are too. One of the fires was set in the garage of a residential building on First and Harrison streets on Tuesday morning.



A video of the suspect is available online at http://www.sf-police.org/index.aspx?page3763&recordid939.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call San Francisco police Inspector John Miller at (415) 920-2944. People can also send an anonymous text to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the subject line or call an anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

Another incident occurred earlier Tuesday morning at Market and Larkin streets, according to Newman. Officers responded to the area at 1:47 a.m. and found a garbage can on fire. Fire crews were called to the scene and quickly extinguished the blaze.

Bay City News contributed to this story.
Related Topics:
news SFPD investigation arson construction crime fire car fire San Francisco South of Market
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