Myrtle Beach police were called to investigate after a toilet paper dispenser in a handicap public bathroom stall near the Boardwalk was intentionally set on fire, authorities said.
Police were called about 12:13 a.m. Thursday to 1104 Withers Alley, which is a public restroom near the boardwalk and SkyWheel area in Myrtle Beach. Officers said they saw smoke coming from the bathroom vents when they arrived, but were told by Myrtle Beach Fire Department crews that the fire was out, according to a police report.
Authorities said the toilet paper dispenser in the handicap stall of the bathroom was destroyed, and there was damage to the walls inside the stall and throughout the bathroom.
Police said they were flagged down by a witness who said she saw a man leave the bathroom just before the fire started.
The witness also told police the man hung around and watched the blaze burn and firefighters and police arrive on the scene, according to the report.
The witness said she saw the man leave, and her husband went and got a fire extinguisher from a Boardwalk store and he put out the fire, authorities said.
Police said they saw the suspect the witness described about a block away from the fire and questioned him.
The suspect said he used the bathroom then went to find an officer when he saw smoke coming from the area, authorities said.
Police said the man had a pack of cigarettes and a lighter on him when he was questioned.
Authorities said they released the suspect, but then sought him out for further questioning after they reviewed video surveillance and noticed inconsistencies in his story.
Police said the suspect was found a short time later and was interviewed by a detective.
An arrest had not yet been made in connection with the incident later Thursday morning, according to jail records.