A man arrested on arson charges stemming from a downtown Medford fire Thursday evening was released from the Jackson County Jail, the victim of a misidentification by a witness and bad luck, police said.
Surveillance video viewed today by Medford police showed that 29-year-old Gregory William Stabile was blocks away from the 1100 block of West Ninth Street when the fire ignited, according to the Medford Police Department.
Police believe they have other video of their suspect, who looked and dressed similarly to Stabile, who was arrested after a witness identified him in the field while walking by shortly after the real arsonist set the fire and fled, Detective Sgt. Brent Mak said this afternoon.
"He was in the area, had similar clothing, similar appearance and a witness saying, 'that's him,' " Mak said. "That kind of thing happens. He's out and we're moving on to the right guy."
The Jackson County District Attorney's Office was notified and they promptly dropped all the charges, leading to Stabile's release.
Medford police last week said a witness spotted the arsonist setting the fire around 5 p.m. and walking away. The witness then grabbed a garden hose to put the fire out and was aided by a passerby.
Police said Stabile later walked by with his girlfriend's 6-year-old daughter, who rode a scooter. Believing Stabile was the arsonist, the witness called 911 and another man gave chase, police said. Officers in the area noticed the chase and detained Stabile in the Jackson County Community Justice parking lot, at 1101 W. Main St.
The fire damaged a fence and an outbuilding before it was extinguished by fire crews, police said.