AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The newly-replanted oak trees at the iconic Toomer's Corner in Auburn were set on fire late early Sunday morning.
Law enforcement confirms 29-year-old Jochen Wiest, from Auburn, is in police custody. Wiest is suspected of intentionally setting a fire at Toomer's Corner. Auburn Police Captain Lorenza Dorsey says he is not an AU student and was identified with the help of witnesses.
Wiest is charged with desecration of a venerable object and is being held on an unrelated charge of public intoxication. Dorsey also said Auburn University officials are currently evaluating the damage done to the trees.
Further investigation identified Wiest as the person who police say set the fire and a warrant was obtained for his arrest. He was arrested while already at the Lee County Jail on the prior charge and his bond was set at $1,000.
The case remains under investigation by Auburn Police. No one was injured in the fire.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call detectives at (334)-501-3140 or the anonymous tip line at (334)-246-1391.
Video on social media captures a person, identified as Wiest, walking up to a Toomer's Oak on fire following the rolling of the trees falling the Tiger's win.
The additional social media video also shows a young woman, later identified as Herron Taylor, confronting Wiest and chasing him across the street as others begin to realize the toilet paper draped across the trees was on fire.
"May have lost my raybans but at least I caught the arsonist," she said in the Instagram post below.
The fire was started late Saturday. Fire officials then put the fire out, but many students were still in the area when the fire was started.
Rolling the famous trees on Toomer's Corner, located on the corner of West Magnolia Avenue and College Street, has been a tradition since the early beginnings of Auburn athletics. In 2011, the tradition was shuttered with a man poisoned the trees, eventually killing them. The trees were later replanted and in 2015, kickstarting the tradition again.
The incident followed a wild 18-13 Auburn win vs. the LSU Tigers. It was just the second time since the replanting that the Oaks were rolled.
You can view a live feed of the Toomer's Oaks by clicking here.
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