Golden Gate Park

Arrest made related to fires in Golden Gate Park

An arrest related to several arson fires in Golden Gate Park has been made, although as of press time charges tied directly to those fires have not been filed. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

According to media reports, six fires were set on Nov. 9 and 10, between about 6:15 p.m. and 9 a.m., close to the park’s polo field and flycasting pond. There were no injuries or damage to any buildings, but SF Fire Department officials considered them “suspicious” as possible arsons.

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One of the burn areas in Golden Gate Park from arson fires in November, 2018.

A witness who was jogging around the polo field at the time told a reporter in a television news interview that the flames appeared suddenly and grew very quickly.

On the morning of Nov. 14, at about 7:23 a.m., SF Police Department officers responded to the Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate Park regarding a suspect who was detained by SF Recreation and Park Department rangers. The man was arrested near Martin Luther King Jr. and Stow Lake drives without incident.

Police officer Adam Lobsinger said Anthony Jon Wengerd, 26, of San Francisco, was a “person of interest” related to the multiple fires. The suspect also had an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault, battery and elder abuse.

The arrest warrant was connected to a previous incident on Oct. 10, 2018, in which authorities allege that he assaulted a 72-year-old Golden Gate Park gardener with a tree branch near the Stow Lake Boathouse. Park rangers served Wengerd with a court order demanding he stay at least 150 yards away from the boathouse after that incident.

After his arrest in November, he was booked into San Francisco County Jail for violating the court’s stay-away order, and park rangers served him with another court order demanding he stay at least 150 yards away from the entire Golden Gate Park.

On Dec. 2, 2018, a news report on KPIX-channel 5 reported that Wengerd was arrested again, this time on robbery charges. He remains in custody, without bail. Lobsinger said the Golden Gate Park arson fire investigations remain open and active as of press time.

– Thomas K. Pendergast

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