A Traveling Man is Arrested on Suspicion of Arson on New Year’s Day
BERKELEY — A man who travels around California getting arrested had his first arrest this year in Berkeley. Authorities investigating three suspicious fires arrested a drifter, 57-year-old Robert W. Martinez, for arson on New Year’s Day.
Three fires erupted in the early morning hours in the vicinity of the University of California Berkeley campus. Fortunately, damage resulting from the fires was relatively minor.
The first fire was at the UC Berkeley Department of Recreational Sports building, located at 2301 Bancroft Way. A parking kiosk inside the parking garage was set ablaze shortly before 6 a.m.
About 20 minutes later, a recycling bin was reported on fire, near the intersection of Ellsworth Street and Dwight Way. A few minutes afterward, the contents of a large trash dumpster were burning. This third fire happened on Haste Street around the corner from Ellsworth Street.
The suspect was located within walking distance of all three fires. University of California Police officers arrested Martinez, outside a 7-Eleven convenience store at 2601 Telegraph Avenue.
Martinez was arrested for arson, petty theft of retail merchandise, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of narcotics. On January 4, he was issued an Exclusion Order and the case was closed.
Martinez has seven other prior arrests in Northern California. These include arrests for public intoxication in Marin County, and possession of controlled substances in Stanislaus County.
He has been arrested four times for public intoxication, possession of controlled substances, battery, and petty theft in El Dorado County.
In Southern California, Martinez has been arrested five times for trespassing and drug-related offenses in San Bernardino County.