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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Sunday September 1st, 2013 :: 02:32 p.m. PDT

Suspected arsonist detained by hunters in the Pine Flat Road area.

On August 31, 2013 at approximately 3:30 pm, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a possible arson in the area of Dutcher Creek Road in Healdsburg. A witness saw the suspect throwing flares into a canyon off of the paved road. The witness was able to give a good vehicle description with a license plate number. At the time Cal Fire was in the area working several small fires believed to be caused by an arsonist. Several deputies responded to the area and began looking for the suspect. They also responded to the vehicle’s registered owner’s residence on North Jefferson Street in Cloverdale but were unable to locate the vehicle or suspect.

On September 1, 2013, at approximately 9:00 am, the Sheriff’s Office received a call of a possible arsonist in the area of Pine Flat Road who had started at least three separate fires and was being detained by four hunters. The hunters were in a remote area off of Pine Flat Road when they observed a subject with a dog. They observed the subject bend down and a short time later they observed flames. The hunters responded to the area of the fire and detained a subject who told them that he was, “Doing a controlled burn.” The hunters detained the subject and called the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrived on scene and took the subject into custody. The suspect was identified as James Novak, 28 years old from Cloverdale.

Detectives were called out to conduct follow up investigation along with Cal Fire personnel. Another arson fire that occurred on 8/31/2013, is also being investigated that started behind Novak’s residence in Cloverdale. A backpack was located in the area of that fire with Novak’s personal information in it. The investigation is on-going at this time.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
2796 Ventura Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-565-2650

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