Posted by on June 9, 2017
Categories: Bay Area

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(BANT) – Investigators have determined that the five- and six-alarm fires that decimated a multi-million dollar development that was under construction at the Oakland\Emeryville city limit were both acts of arson, and they’re offering a total of $100,000 in reward money for information that helps find and convict a suspect.

The structure at 3800 San Pablo Avenue was razed twice, around 2:45 a.m. July 6, 2016, and just before 5 a.m. May 13, 2017. Both incidents did major damage to the building, which consisted of 105 apartments and 25,000 square feet of commercial space.

“This is a violent crime,” Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada said. “We are very fortunate that we did not lose lives in both of these incidents.”

Surveillance video taken from nearby cameras captured images of an individual on a bicycle who was wearing a backpack, dark clothes and a hooded jacket, who is believed to be the suspect in the second fire.

“The video shows the suspect canvassing the building prior to the fire, then entering into the building,” said Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder.

Investigators declined to speculate about the individual’s height or weight, but they did release several images and ask members of the public to reach out if they recognize the person. They also declined to release any suspect information associated with the first fire.

Investigators say that both fires were lit when the building was roughly 50 percent complete. The framing was done, but drywall had not yet been hung. Also in both incidents, there were unauthorized personnel at the scene before the fire.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered $25,000 rewards in each incident. The property owner, Holliday Development, has also offered $25,000 rewards in each incident.

“People are understandably upset,” said Emeryville Mayor Scott Donahue. “I just ask for patience, because we are going to solve this.”