Suspected arsonist in restaurant fire, house fires arrested

Suspected arsonist in restaurant fire, house fires arrested

YAKIMA, Wash. - “He does have a history of arson,” said Mike Bastinelli of the Yakima Police Department.

Bastinelli tells Action News they've identified 21-year-old Ronald Edward Taylor Jr. as a suspect in the multiple fires set, Sunday morning.

Police arrested Taylor, last night.

He's suspected of setting fire to a Mexican restaurant, two abandoned homes, and now they say a dumpster, all along 6th Avenue near Fruitvale Boulevard.

“He was identified as a possible suspect because of his history. One of the officers that responded had been involved in some of the previous cases, so that's why they identified him as a possible suspect,” said Bastinelli.

Now, Taylor faces two counts of first degree arson, one count of second degree arson, and one count of second degree reckless burning, but this isn't his first run-in with the law.

In 2016, he faced arson and reckless burning charges for setting six brush and dumpster fires in just one night.

And in 2017, he was convicted of five different reckless burning charges.

Taylor's also a convicted sex offender.

According to police reports, he admitted to police he set all the fires because he says he's addicted, and it gives him an adrenaline rush.

Police say they may be able to connect him to more fires.

“There could potentially be more charges out there. The investigation is continuing and we have reason to believe he might've been involved in other fires that were set,” said Bastinelli.

Taylor’s bail is set at $150,000.

Previous coverage

Police say they have arrested a suspect who caused two recent house fires and another fire that damaged the roof and ceiling of a local Mexican restaurant, causing a closure of at least eight months.

Police said Ronald Taylor, 21, was arrested Monday night after Mariscos El Nayarita and two abandoned homes in the area were set on fire, Sunday. The Yakima Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have been investigating the fires and believe he acted alone in starting the three fires.

Yakima Police Department reports said Taylor has a history of starting fires. In 2016, he was suspected of starting a handful of brush and dumpster fires in one night and faced arson and reckless burning charges.

Police said he faces multiple charges in these recent incidents. He is set to appear in court Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

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