Police arrested a bizarre acting man who threw large river rocks at the back of a Hatch Road pizza parlor before he set fire to a dry tree branch Sunday afternoon.
The manager of Mountain Mike’s Pizza called police at 3:40 p.m. to report the rock throwing. By the time Sgt. Vince Hooper arrived the suspect had walked over to the Pine Ridge Apartments at 1301 Richland Avenue where he found and dragged a large dry tree branch toward the area behind Ross Dress for Less. Sgt. Hooper watched Jed Randel Alfeche, 26, of Modesto holding a bottle of lighter fluid as he looked right at the officer and proceeded to douse the branch with lighter fluid and set fire to it. As the branch burned, Alfeche began squirting lighter fluid on the asphalt pavement of the parking lot.
When Sgt. Hooper told Alfeche to drop the fluid and lighter he began walking away backwards while ignoring commands to stop. Sgt. Hooper asked multiple times to talk about what was going on, and Alfeche continued walking off. A citizen in the driveway behind the businesses attempted to get Alfeche to stop, but he began running westbound behind the businesses toward Home Depot.
Officer Jeremy Caron intercepted and began arresting Alfeche who put up a fight.
Sgt. Keith Griebel and Officer Kao Saechao arrived and assisted Officer Caron with handcuffing Alfeche with minimal force.
Sgt. Hooper returned to the area where he initially confronted Alfeche and found at least 100 large river rocks scattered around the driveway which came from a planter along the north wall of the property. Witnesses said they saw Alfeche throw all of the rocks at the businesses for no apparent reason.
A Stanislaus County fire investigator investigated the fire as arson. Alfeche was arrested for felony setting an unlawful fire and resisting arrest and was booked at the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center.