Woman charged with arson of downtown Berkeley building

Security footage showed the suspect lighting green webbing from the fence on fire before running away, police said.

Woman charged with arson of downtown Berkeley building
Fire damage from arson at 2059 University Ave. in Berkeley, June 1, 2024. Ariel Nava Photo

A woman has been charged with felony arson in connection with a fire at a downtown Berkeley building over the weekend, according to authorities and court records.

Emergency personnel responded to a report of fire Saturday at about 8:30 a.m. at 2059 University Ave., just west of Shattuck Avenue.

They found wooden pallets, which had been leaning against a commercial building under construction, that had been set on fire, Berkeley police said.

After extinguishing the fire, arson investigators from the Berkeley Fire Department determined that the fire had been intentionally set, BPD said.

Deputy Fire Chief Keith May said the department had not yet determined the extent of the damage. No injuries were reported.

Security footage showed the suspect lighting green webbing from a fence on fire before running away, police said.

Brandon Lowder. BPD

Officers recognized the suspect as Brandon Lowder, a 36-year-old transgender woman (no address) from the area, police said.

On Sunday morning, BPD bicycle officers spotted Lowder in Civic Center Park at about 10 a.m. and took her into custody.

As of Wednesday, Lowder remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. No bail amount was listed.

She is scheduled to enter a plea Friday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

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