VIDEO: Accused Contra Costa County serial arsonist appears in court

36-year-old James Bishop

MARTINEZ (KRON) — The man accused of setting a series of car fires around Contra Costa County appeared in a Martinez courtroom Thursday morning.

James Bishop III, 36, of Pittsburg, faces over two dozen counts of arson. He did not enter a plea on Thursday.

Police believe Bishop started several cars fires in Lafayette, Brentwood, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill.

Investigators zeroed in on Bishop after surveillance video showed his car at a number of the fire scenes.

The arson related incidents date back to the beginning of 2017 but became more frequent in April.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney has charged Bishop with nine counts of arson to property, eight counts of use of an accelerant to set a fire and one count of arson to an inhabited structure.

Fire officials say they are investigating 30 or more incidents that could possibly be related

His bail has been set at $1.55 million. The arraignment has been scheduled for May 26.

KRON4 came across a GoFundMe page Bishop created in December where he described himself as a struggling artist who had been down on his luck for 10 years.

He said he was trying to get books published but nobody donated to his cause.

Bishop is being represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

His bail is set at $1,550,000.

KRON4’s Philippe Djegal was inside the courtroom Thursday and gave us the latest updates:

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