Where there’s smoke

On Sunday morning, September 30, 2012 Pleasanton Police were dispatched to Pleasanton High School for a report of a fire alarm going off inside the building. Pleasanton Independent School District, Chief of Police Charles P. Salsedo and City of Pleasanton Fire Marshal and Arson Investigator, Scott Garris, who are heading up this investigation, told the Pleasanton Express that they are treating this matter as a felony arson attempt.

When officers arrived at the high school they first detected the smell of burning paper in the main hallway. After ensuring there were no active fires anywhere in the building they began to collect evidence. The officers discovered that a 12’ x 10’ corkboard hanging in the main hallway had extensive fire damage and that there were three burned posters along the walls. The burning of the posters caused damage to the walls and the burning of the corkboard caused damage to both the wall and ceiling panels above it. An open window at the north end of the hallway was determined to have been the initial point of entry.

Salsedo and Garris reviewed the school’s security camera and observed what appeared to be a male subject approximately 5’-7”-5’11” tall and 150-240 pounds, approximate age 15-20 years old. The subject entered the building and lit the posters and corkboard on fire. The subject was wearing a hoodie with the letters PCI on the back and pants or possibly running gear with reflective material. One piece of the video showed that the individual had a spot on the crown of his head that did not have hair possibly due to some sort of scarring.

Salsedo said that they have leads but are asking persons in the community who have any information to please help solve this crime. Garris stated that the person responsible was possibly gone all Saturday night and did not return home until around 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Garris asked that anyone with knowledge of a company or organization with the logo PCI to please take note of the photographs from the security camera. The subject could be a family member of an employee of PCI or a former employee.

Salsedo and Garris stated that there are many reasons why a person might try to set a school fire. The men stated that if the subject were a juvenile that sometimes the reason for setting a school fire is for retaliation. These juvenile offenders often blame the school for everything bad that has happened to them such as conduct reports, being transferred to alternative schools or being put in detention.

Please refer to CRIME STOPPERS in this issue of the Pleasanton Express for details about a one-week only $5000 reward that leads to the arrest and grand jury indictment of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

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