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Felon Nabbed For Allegedly Causing A Fire During State Of Emergency

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Sonora, CA — A suspect caught fanning flames behind a store in The Crossroads Shopping Center is facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel reports 35-year-old Joshua Eugene Kelly is charged with causing a fire during a state of emergency, unlawful use of a teargas device, and for a felony violation of probation as a result of the incident that occurred early last Thursday evening behind JoAnn’s Fabrics.

Officers responded to the area to check out a report of someone burning items behind the business. “When officers and fire personnel arrived, the flames were out, and fortunately, there was no damage to the building,” the chief states.

“The investigating officer learned that a male and female were seen by a security guard behind the business. The male subject, later identified as Kelly, was actively fanning burning paper with a piece of cardboard, and the flames were reported to be approximately two feet high at this point,” he continues.

“When the security guard confronted the two and took their photograph, Kelly pulled out pepper spray and threatened the security guard with it before leaving the area on foot with his companion. Using the photograph provided by the security guard, the investigating officer was able to identify and ultimately locate Kelly and the female.”

Kelly was determined to be on active felony probation for vehicle theft and conspiracy charges, according to the chief, who adds, “During the arrest, Kelly was found in possession of methamphetamine and hypodermic needles. He was booked at the Tuolumne County Jail…the investigating officer was unable to connect the female’s activities to the crimes directly.”

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