A California man armed with a blowtorch, hatchet, and knife was arrested and charged in connection with the bizarre attacks that involved allegedly setting random people on fire at two different popular eateries in Southside Berkeley, police reported.
A video of the attack that took place at Boba Teahouse, one of the area’s local hotspots, on Sept. 14, went viral on Twitter and had been viewed more than 3,000 times.
The 46-year-old suspect was later identified as Brendon McGlone who allegedly tried to set several people on fire, according to the Berkeley Police spokesman, Officer Byron White.
According to police, McGlone’s first attack took place outside Artichoke Basille’s Pizza while two men were eating. A police statement revealed that McGlone “knocked their food off of the table and announced that he was going to light them on fire.” He then proceeded to spray both men with WD-40, a flammable liquid as they walked away.
McGlone continued on his blowtorching spree at the Feng Cha Teahouse where he sprayed two male patrons with the flammable agent and proceeded to light the substance on fire burning their hair, police reported. The attack was caught on video surveillance.
Bystanders in disbelief and shock jumped to action by extinguishing the flames as others ran after the assailant, reported the local news outlet, berkeleyside.com.
A witness named Angelique told CBSN that “the attacker said something right before he sprayed, and it was kind of like an evil chuckle.”
She also told the news outlet that she and her friends had just stepped into the Feng Cha Teahouse and they were just standing in line when suddenly, a man walked in, immediately sprayed WD40 on three men, then set a fire with a small torch.
McGlone, apparently pulled out a hatchet and threatened the group of people who chased him out of the store and tried to restrain him, reported KPIX 5. When police arrived they ordered the suspect to drop the hatchet. A search of the suspects’ possessions showed that he was carrying knives, a machete, matches, lighters, and several Molotov cocktails, police said.
He was taken into custody and charged with 10 felonies court papers revealed.
On Sept, 16, a statement released by the Berkeley police department said the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged McGlone with arson, criminal threats, throwing a flammable substance on another, assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a destructive device, among other charges.
McGlone was also charged with arson in connection with a trashcan fire on Kathmandu Market & Deli on the other two Sept. 15 attacks.
Court records show that police had been looking for McGlone in connection with a domestic violence investigation from earlier this month. On Sept. 4, he was charged with assault with a firearm, domestic violence, child endangerment, carrying a loaded firearm, and carrying a concealed firearm in connection with that case.
McGlone remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail, according to authorities. He is ineligible for release on bail due to the most recent charges.