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Worker accused of setting fire to El Cajon towing business arrested in New Mexico

Posted at 1:44 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 16:44:50-05

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) -- An employee accused of starting a fire at the El Cajon towing business he worked at was taken into custody by authorities in New Mexico.

El Cajon Police said 39-year-old Burton Kanehailua was in the New Mexico/Texas area on Thursday when he contacted ECPD arson investigators and told them he wished to turn himself in.

Kanehailua was taken into custody by Socorro Police in New Mexico, and El Cajon Police said the tow truck he allegedly stole was recovered.

Kanehailua is expected to be extradited back to San Diego County, and police indicated he would face charges of arson and auto theft.

Police alleged Kanehailua entered C&D Towing on the evening of Dec. 14 with a gas can and then “poured what appeared to be gasoline inside an office and set the building on fire.”

As the fire spread at the business, Kanehailua allegedly stole a company tow truck and drove away from the scene.

The suspect’s motive in the arson case remains unclear.

No injuries were reported from the fire.