Like an onion, the story of a house fire In Novato last week keeps exposing layer after layer of possible criminal intent.
Shortly before midnight on Mon., March 11, the Novato Fire Department was summoned to 1813 Marlon Ave. to thwart a structure fire. Sensing what they thought was a “marijuana growing operation,” the Novato Police Department was called in.
According to a Bay City News report on Patch, the residence was unoccupied but contained a marijuana growing operation, police said.
The fire began in the basement was controlled at 11:53 p.m., Novato Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Bill Tyler said.
The home's electrical system bypassed the PG&E meter and the fire appears to be electrical in nature, Tyler said.
The following day, the property owner, Rory Mark Ward, who turned 59 this week, was arrested in San Rafael during a traffic stop on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and theft of utility services, police said.
The Marin County Major Crimes Task Force then began obtaining warrants for other properties owned by Ward.
The ongoing investigation has led to a report of ammunition and police gear inside Ward’s other properties. The Marin Independent Journal reported that his “Novato house fire had a supply of police-style ‘raid’ jackets, Department of Justice radios and a voluminous stash of ammunition.”
The IJ also reported that Ward has properties in San Rafael and Lucas Valley and investigators also found a “small amount of cocaine and a 37mm flare launcher designed to be attached to an assault weapon.”
According to the Marin County Jail, Ward posted bail for the initial charges. No additional charges had yet been made by Thursday afternoon.