As the Dixie Fire continues to burn in Northern California, a university professor has been accused of starting several fires in the area, according to CNN.
In a 32-page federal criminal complaint, Gary Maynard, 47, is charged with arson in Lassen County.
US forestry officers began investigating the suspect on July 20, 2021, the day of the Cascade Fire.
A witness said he saw Mr. Maynard coming from the area where the fire started and that the fire appeared to be unstable.
“He mumbled a lot and his behavior resembled bipolar disorder,” he explains.
Mr. Maynard denies the charges. When he was arrested, he insulted the policemen and threatened to kill them.
The forest officers followed Mr. Maynard’s movements. They tracked his car and monitored his cell phone.
“It looked as if Maynard was in the middle of an arson attack,” they noted.
“They will try to put up a card and say it might be someone aiming to start several fires hoping there is only one, huge,” says Mark Reichel, a defense attorney for federal cases, including arson.
Previously at Santa Clara University, Gary Maynard also taught at Sonoma State University during the fall of 2020. He specializes in criminology and criminal justice.