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Transient Held as Laguna Beach Arson Suspect

December 19, 1985

A transient has been jailed on suspicion of setting fires at several locations in Laguna Beach, police and fire spokesmen said.

The suspect, David Wayne Gann, 31, was hitchhiking along Coast Highway at about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday when Laguna Beach Patrol Officer Shawn Murray gave him a ride "with intention of asking him if he had seen anyone" in the area of recent suspicious grass and structure fires, Laguna Police Sgt. Paul Workman said.

"Based on some things he (Gann) discussed with the patrolman, the patrolman felt maybe he knew a little more than he should have," Workman said. The officer took Gann to police headquarters, where arson investigators interviewed him.

This year more than 20 fires in Laguna Beach have been categorized as "suspicious," Fire Department Harvey Boelts said. The most recent started in a trash bin in an underground parking garage about four blocks from where Gann was picked up, he said. Boelts declined to say which fires Gann was suspected of starting.

Gann is in County Jail and bail is set at $25,000, police said Wednesday.

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