SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 3, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A suspect is in custody and facing a charge of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, for allegedly starting a structure fire late Thursday morning in Salt Lake City.
Benjamin Harris Dillman, 51, is accused of starting a fire at the site of a now-closed Sconecutter restaurant at 2040 S. State St.
When fire crews arrived on scene, the entire structure was fully engulfed in flames, according to a probable cause statement filed in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake County by a Salt Lake City police officer.
Witnesses on scene said they saw Dillman squatting down near a bush on the north side of the building.
“When the AP (accused person) stood up, there was a small fire started underneath the bush. The bush quickly became engulfed in flames which in turn started the building on fire,” the probable cause statement says.
Dillman was seen leaving the scene and headed south on State Street. South Salt Lake officers located him in the WinCo parking lot, the document states.
The reporting officer wrote, “The witnesses which observed the AP at the bush when it started on fire were able to positively identify the AP while he was detained by police.”
Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information becomes available.