Federal authorities yesterday released a second batch of surveillance photos featuring a man they suspect of intentionally setting fire to curtains inside Comet Ping Pong, the popular Chevy Chase pizzeria that has previously been targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists both online and at its front door.
Seeking help identifying the suspect — a white man approximately 25 to 30 years old with long blonde hair, a mustache, and a beard — the Twitter account for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives released their second batch of photos yesterday following an incident that occurred last week.
ATF/DC Arson Task Force is asking the public’s help to identify person in connection to a fire at Comet Pizza on Jan. 23 in DC. Individual is described as white male, 25-30 years old, with blonde hair, mustache & beard. Contact @dcfireems at 202-904-6511 or ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE. pic.twitter.com/s47JRgpgK0— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) January 29, 2019
The Washington Post reported that D.C. fire and police investigators found burned matches underneath the curtain in a back room along with a box of matches and an open bottle of lighter fluid nearby on Wednesday, January 23. Employees extinguished the fire, and no one was injured.
ATF’s D.C. Arson-Exposives Task Force released the first photos of the suspect last Friday.
ATF is seeking the pictured suspect for questioning about the January 23, 2019 arson at Comet Pizza, 5037 Connecticut Ave NW. If you have any information contact 1-888-ATF-FIRE. pic.twitter.com/KJd9FqZQt0— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) January 25, 2019
There was no indication that the fire had anything to do with the 2016 incident in which a 28-year-old man armed with a pistol, an assault rifle, and a shotgun brought panic upon the block by firing a shot inside the restaurant while investigating a bizarre, bunk conspiracy theory — dubbed #pizzagate — that Comet was part of an underground child sex ring involving presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.
Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina, is serving a 4-year prison term for assault and a federal firearms charge that began in 2017.
Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis told the Post he has no reason to believe the latest disturbance in his restaurant has anything to do with the last one, and that the shop still frequently receives a high number of prank calls.