Diners at 10 East Kitchen and Tap House in downtown Turlock had a brief interruption to their meal when a man tried to set fire to the underside of a train car used for restaurant seating.
Staff was able to put the fire out before it caused any damage and customers provided a description of the suspect that eventually led to an arrest.
The fire was reported at 4:29 p.m. Saturday at the restaurant at 10 E. Main St.
Customers coming into the restaurant said a man was seen underneath a train car used for dining and that he had set a fire, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.
The suspect was last seen running from the fire.
“Staff of the restaurant were notified and were able to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, prior to Turlock Fire arriving on scene,” Parmley said.
Officers located a man matching the description of the suspect in the 700 block of N. Golden State Boulevard. The man was identified as Raman Kumar, 30, of Modesto.
“Multiple witnesses were able to positively identify Kumar as the male they saw setting the fire,” Parmley said.
Kumar was placed under arrest on suspicion of arson of an inhabited structure. The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office has since amended the charge to a lesser count of arson of property.
Kumar has a lengthy criminal record and this was not his first arrest for a bizarre incident.
In July 2019, he was arrested by the Ceres Police Department for indecent exposure after he was found walking around a church parking lot nude and grabbing his genitals, according to the Ceres Courier.
In August 2020, Kumar was again arrested by the Ceres Police Department. This time it was for suspicion of kidnapping.
A woman was outside the Walmart in Ceres waiting to get into the store with her three children. Suddenly, her oldest, an 8-year-old boy started screaming that a man was trying to take his brother.
The mother spun around and saw Kumar holding her three-year-old son off of the ground, the Ceres Courier reported. The eight-year-old began wrestling his brother away from Kumar, who then fled the area on foot.
A loss prevention agent provided officers with still photos from the security camera and officers recognized him from previous contacts.
Kumar was located across the street and taken into custody for kidnapping and probation violations.
Kumar is currently in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail in lieu of a $200,000 bail.