Dalton Police charge suspect in bizarre arson and vandalism spree

DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – Police believe a man suspected of starting several fires over the weekend was experiencing a mental health episode.

They say 34-year old Wendell Patton, Jr. of Resaca set a vehicle on fire in Dalton, tampered with power and gas facilities on nearby buildings and tried to set a fire inside a bank building he broke into.

The spree began around 10 AM Sunday morning.

Police say he went up to a pickup truck on Elk Street and pushed lit matches into the grill.

The truck eventually caught fire and was a total loss.

They say Patton’s next stop was the Old Freight Depot where he tampered with the power box, turning the power off.

From there, they say he went to the Wells Fargo building and messed with another breaker box.

They say he also tried to set a fire outside the stairwell.

After moving to the front of the building, he threw a heavy ashtray the glass door to get inside.

They say he tried to set another fire inside, but there was only minor damage.

Police say his last stop was Cherokee Alley where he opened two gas line valves.

That’s when a police officer stopped him and arrested him.

Patton faces three counts of arson, one count of burglary in the 2nd degree, two counts of criminal damage to property, and three counts of interference with public utilities.

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