Arson fire

An Arnold man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of sparking an arson fire behind the Sonora Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram auto dealer complex on Mono Way in Sonora, Tuolumne County sheriff’s staff said Monday.

Deputies, engine crews, and at least one firefighting pilot were among responders dispatched to on Saturday. A witness saw a man with what appeared to be a propane bottle in his hand emerging from the area of the fire, Tuolumne County sheriff’s staff said.

The deputies at the scene started searching for the man. They had a description of the man from the witness. A short time later, deputies found a man walking on Sanguinetti Road, matching the description provided by the witness.

The man initially gave deputies a false name and deputies described him as non-compliant.

A Sonora police officer helped deputies identify the man and he was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant. Law enforcement personnel searched him and found several prescription pills on him. No propane bottle was located.

Ryan Wallace, 36, of Arnold was arrested on suspicion of arson, providing false identification to law enforcement and for the misdemeanor warrant, Tuolumne County sheriff’s staff said.

Deputies later determined the pills were illegal to possess without a prescription. An additional charge of possessing a controlled substance without a prescription was added. Information about bail for Wallace and whether he remained in custody was not available Monday afternoon.


Contact Guy McCarthy at or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.


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