UPDATE: RIVERSIDE: Man accused of trying to set fire to neighbor’s truck pleads not guilty
RIVERSIDE – A man police arrested after they say tried to light his neighbor’s vehicle on fire Friday, March 24 pleaded not guilty to the three charges filed against him at his arraignment. The attempted arson-related vehicle fire was set in the 2900 block of Market Street in Riverside.
After the incident and a brief standoff, the alleged suspect, who officials identified as Aubrey Wayne Clawson, 55, of Riverside, was detained for his own protection and taken to a local hospital for medical evaluation and clearance.
He was later booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of two counts of arson, possession or manufacturing of a firebomb and a hate crime enhancement, all felonies. He was also booked on two counts of resisting arrest and causing fire to property, both misdemeanors.
City of Riverside police officers responded to the location about 10:15 a.m., when one of Clawson’s neighbors called 911 to report that she saw her neighbor pour an unknown liquid on the ground near her truck and light it on fire.
The victim alleged that while Clawson was trying to light her truck on fire, he was “shouting derogatory comments regarding (her) race and nationality,” according to officials, who did not specify the victim’s race or nationality.
After the fire burned out on its own, Clawson reportedly returned to his own apartment.
When they arrived, officers surrounded Clawson’s apartment and attempted to contact him via telephone.
Clawson initially refused to exit the residence, leading to a brief standoff.
After several tense minutes, he eventually emerged from the apartment and was taken into custody without further incident.
Investigators from the City of Riverside Fire Department’s Arson Investigation Unit responded to assist with the incident and investigation.
The victim’s property was not damaged as a result of the fire, according to officials.
Online jail and Superior Court records searches revealed the District Attorney’s office brought felony charges of possession or manufacturing of a firebomb and arson, as well as a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest against Clawson.
Clawson pleaded not guilty to all three charges against him.
DA officials chose not to file the hate crime enhancement or two of the other charges he was originally charged with. They have not yet specified the reason for that decision.
Clawson remains in custody in lieu of $20,000 bail and his next scheduled court appearance is at the Riverside Hall of Justice April 7.
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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.