Police Release Suspect in Long Beach Fires

Fire background

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LONG BEACH (CNS) - A 31-year-old man who was arrested in connection with a series of suspicious fires that were set in various carports or parking garages in the downtown Long Beach area over the past two weeks has been released after police said they arrested the wrong man.

Cristian Jehovany Portillo of Long Beach was booked on suspicion of arson and possession of a concealed dirk or dagger on Wednesday, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Fox 11 reported Friday that Portillo had been released after investigators determined the wrong man had been arrested.

Long Beach Fire Department Chief Dennis Buchanan told reporters the suspect matched the description of a person seen on surveillance video that was made public earlier this week.

"For the past two weeks, we've had five vehicle fires in parking structures in the downtown area of the city of Long Beach," Buchanan said during an early afternoon news conference. "All these fires have been suspicious in origin."

The series of suspicious fires began Aug. 20 and continued for the ensuing two weeks. Long Beach Fire Capt. Jake Heflin said the fires targeted five vehicles, two of which sustained extensive damage. Heflin noted that each of the fires were contained to the individual vehicles that were set ablaze.

No injuries have been reported in any of the fires.

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