CRESTLINE – A 27-year-old Cedar Glen man was arrested after lighting multiple fires in the Crestline area on Monday night. At around 8:07 p.m. several 911 calls were made reporting a man, later identified as Benjamin Andrew Baptiste armed with a knife and an ax was attempting to start a fire on Highway 18 just below the Highway 138 cutoff in Crestline.
Officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the San Bernardino County Fire, Cal Fire and US Forest Fire, Additional 911 calls poured in as law enforcement responded to the scene stating that the armed subject was throwing rocks at a vehicle on the highway. Authorities said that Baptiste ran down the highway, fleeing over the side and heading down toward Bonnie Canyon. While there he lit another fire in the dense canyon brush below the highway. As a safety precaution, Highway 18 was closed to traffic due to the fire and the volatile nature of the situation.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Twin Peaks and Central Stations, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino Police Department, Cal Fire Investigators, US Forest Service Officers, and K9s from both the Sheriff’s Department and Montclair Police all responded to the scene. A perimeter was set up and a FLIR (Thermal Imaging, Night Vision) was used to search for Baptiste in the dense brush. Baptiste was located on the side of Highway 18 was taken into custody. Due to minor injuries, including multiple lacerations from the brush and burns to his hands and arms, Baptiste was treated by medical personnel before being booked into the West Valley Detention Center for arson. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in the San Bernardino Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon.
If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact Deputy Brian Butts at the Twin Peaks Station, (909) 336-0600 or WeTip 1-800-78-CRIME.
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