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A Lincoln City man was arrested Sunday evening after he allegedly lit his roommate’s car on fire outside the Black Squid Tap House in Lincoln City and the blaze began to spread to a nearby building.

Diego Cruz, 49, was arrested on felony charges including second-degree arson, criminal mischief and reckless burning before being lodged at the Lincoln County Jail and arraigned Monday.  

According to a police affidavit and a Lincoln City Police Department press release filed Monday, Lincoln City police officers and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue firefighters arrived near the Black Squid Tap house at around 9:12 p.m. to find a Subaru car engulfed in flames in the parking lot. The fire had also spread to the siding on the Lincoln City Floor Coverings building by that time.

Responders were able to get the fire under control within several minutes with only damage to the building’s siding, but the vehicle was a total loss. The vehicle was valued at approximately $16,000 and was undamaged before the incident, the affidavit states.

The car’s owner, who was working inside the Black Squid at the time of the incident, told officers that shortly before the incident occurred he received a call from his roommate, Cruz, who accused him of stealing money from his room and threatening to “torch” his car during their conversation.

Another employee retrieved security footage that showed a second vehicle enter the parking lot before the incident, which the owner of the Subaru identified as belonging to Cruz. Lincoln City police officers began searching for Cruz’s vehicle roughly 30 minutes after responding to the fire and located it at his residence.

Police then proceeded to interview Cruz at his residence, with Cruz denying that he had been in Lincoln City at the time of the incident even after officers told him his truck was caught on video at the location at the time of the fire. Cruz told officers that he was the only one who drove the truck and kept the only key inside his home. 

After the interview, Cruz was arrested and was transported to the Lincoln County Jail, where he was lodged with bail set at $115,000.

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